A HISTÓRIA DO SOLDADO | Né Barros & Ensemble Sociedade de Actores | 2021
photos by José Caldeira

A História do Soldado [The Soldier's History] results from the collaboration of the composer Igor Stravinsky with the swiss writer C. F. Ramuz during the First World War, in 1918. The story is told by three actors, a group of dancers and a band of seven musicians. Musically, this piece occupies an important place in Stravinsky's work, and in the history of 20th century music in general. A soldier returning to earth on a fortnight's leave, stops to rest and plays his little violin. He is interrupted by the Devil, disguised as an old man, who convinces him to give him the violin in exchange for a magic book that predicts the future. The Devil invites the soldier to go home with him for three days to teach him how to play. When the soldier finally arrives in his village, he finds his girlfriend married to another and everyone who sees him thinks he is a ghost, even his mother. He realizes that he had been tricked – “it wasn't three days, it was three years” – and he becomes desperate. Not even the vast fortune he had amassed could cheer him up. When the Devil, this time disguised as an old woman, offers him the violin back, he cannot extract any sound from the instrument. Disgusted, he throws it away, tears up the book and decides to leave. Until he arrives in another country, where a King lives, who has a daughter trapped in a strange melancholy.

Direction and choreography | Né Barros
Conductor | Jan Wierzba
Translation | Leena Marques
Performance | Jorge Pinto
Dancers | Beatriz Valentim, João Oliveira, Afonso Cunha, Guilherme Vieira
Musicians | André Gaio Pereira (violin), Francisca Sá Machado (contrabass), Frederic Cardoso (clarinet), Cândida Nunes (bassoon), Telmo Barbosa (trumpet), Tiago Nunes (trombone), Pedro Góis (percussion)
Lighting design | José Álvaro Correia
Sound design | Ricardo Pinto
Set design and costumes | Flávio Rodrigues
Accompanist pianist | Bernardo Soares
Assistant | Pedro Alves
Support | Balleteatro (support for artistic residency), Drumming Grupo de Percussão, A Turma
Co-production | Ensemble - Sociedade de Actores, Teatro Municipal do Porto