By Eric Dundon
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra presented a multi-sensory experience on January 27-28, 2024, at Stifel Theatre, centered on the theme of fables. Stéphane Denève, The Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director, selected music that highlighted his native France: Albert Roussel's The Spider's Feast and Francis Poulenc's Model Animals.
Accompanying The Spider's Feast was animations by French artist Grégoire Pont that depicted the music's story of insects in a garden. The first performance with animation took place just one week before at the New World Symphony in Miami, where Denève also serves as the Artistic Director.
Ken Page, the lauded Broadway singer and actor, joined the SLSO for Poulenc's piece, which draws inspiration from the text of Jean de la Fontaine's Fables. To concludes the performance, Denève and orchestra presented a familiar favorite, Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, in a new way: with the 2006 stop-motion film of the same name substituting for the narration.
The January 27 performance was special in two other ways: it was Jewish Community Night at the SLSO, sponsored by Michael Staenberg and the Staenberg Family Foundation. It was also the second Young Friends night at the SLSO, where young professional gathered for a pre-concert event and mingled with musicians at a post-concert reception. Learn more about becoming an SLSO Young Friend here.
Photos by Virginia Harold