February 11, 2020

Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) will be presented Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. at Mayville State University and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020 at the North Dakota Museum of Art at the University of North Dakota. The event is a collaboration of the Mayville State University & Community Fine Arts Series, Mayville State University Theater, and the North Dakota Museum of Art Fine Arts Series. Artists are faculty from Mayville State University, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and Concordia College. Actors and dancers represent the Mayville State University Theater Department.

Composed by Stravinsky in 1918, L’Histoire tells the story (libretto by C.F. Ramuz) of a soldier on leave, heading home to see his family. On the way, the soldier runs into another traveler who wishes to purchase his fiddle in exchange for monetary gain. Shortly after the transaction, the soldier realizes he has sold his fiddle to Devil. Fortune, sorrow, reflection, and defeat follow our protagonist through the rest of the tale, with Stravinsky’s unique, angular, and American jazz-influenced music perfectly blended throughout.

Since its premier, L’Histoire has become one of the most significant pieces of chamber music composed in the 20th century. Scored for violin, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, bassoon, double bass, percussion, actors, and dancers, Stravinsky masterfully utilizes each instrument’s unique timbre to create unforgettable music with a timeless message: “No one can have it all.”

Stravinsky hit on hard times when he retreated to Switzerland during WWI. He tried to write small scale income-producing pieces in hopes that someone might perform them. The result is this thoroughly convincing theater, like a radio drama with music. The score for L’Histoire is a series of short interludes marches - a tango, jazzy riffs, funeral and wedding music, etc. featuring the soldier’s old violin - that prefigure Stravinsky’s life-long fondness for writing pieces lasting under five minutes. None are as delightful as this score born of empty pockets.

Tickets may be purchased through the Mayville State University Bookstore, 701-788-4823, or online at www.mayvillestate.edu/soldierstale. Tickets are $25 per person, or $10 for Mayville State students. A reception will follow on the second floor of Old Main, just outside the Old Main Theatre doors.  

Take advantage of this rare opportunity, the premier of L’Histoire du Soldat in the Red River Valley. Performers are as follows:


Dr. Kevin Sütterlin, Director of Orchestral Activities at Concordia College, Music Director for the Fox Valley Symphony, Conductor for NVYO, Director for the Memphis Sinfonietta

Directors and Producers:

Dr. Cody Hunter, Mayville State University Fine Arts Series

Robert Sylskar and Greta Paschke, Mayville State University Theatre

Laurel Reuter, North Dakota Museum of Art Fine Arts Series


Dr. Cody Hunter, Mayville State University

Dr. Kevin Sütterlin, Concordia College

Dr. Sonja Bosca-Harasim, Concordia College

Dr. Cassie Keogh, North Dakota State University

Dr. Cory Driscoll, University of North Dakota

Dr. Joel Pugh, University of North Dakota

Michael Farrick, University of North Dakota

Thomas Christianson, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra


Thomas Smette, 2013 Mayville State graduate

Greta Paschke, 1985 and 1999 Mayville State graduate, Mayville State Instructor of Music

Carlee Ellingson, Mayville State student

Brooklyn Handly, Mayville State student

Tishawn Steele, Mayville State student

Support Provided by:

Mayville State University Enrollment Services

Mayville State University Foundation

Mayville State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Mayville State University Student Activities

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