Sergei Prokofiev’s immortal tale of Peter and the Wolf has been given a spectacular revamp and takes shape in the form of a multi-media adventure entitled Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood. Available from November 13, Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood has been created by New York-based production company Giants Are Small and Deutsche Grammophon. It promises to be a feast of classical music and visual wonder that combines painting, sculpture, photography and digital play, giving a contemporary perspective on Prokofiev’s classic. Aimed at audiences of all ages the story of the adventurous Russian boy will be produced in multiple complementary formats: digital album, CD, and the richly immersive, interactive experience of an iPad app designed especially for children aged 5-8.
The tale of Peter is taken out of its traditional old-time Russian setting and placed in 21st century Hollywood, where the newly orphaned Peter has come to live with his grandfather. Making friends is not easy, but Peter becomes an unexpected hero, set off by the wolf’s escape from the local zoo that takes Peter on a journey of robot building, a helicopter chase, and some melancholic introspection, all before he enters the forbidden meadow where he finally captures the wolf.
The music has been recorded by Deutsche Grammophon, live in the studio, performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Germany, conducted by Alexander Shelley and features a pastiche of works by other composers as well Prokofiev – Schumann, Puccini, Smetana, Elgar, Grieg, Mahler, Satie, Dukas and Mussorgsky. A marvellous introduction to classical music for young and old.
The narration and all the characters are played by rocker Alice Cooper for whom the project was a journey back to his childhood. “I first heard this back in Detroit, when I was six or seven years old. My mom put the record on and I was instantly transported to another world,” he recalls. “And it has been huge fun for me to do something new after nearly 50 years in the business.”
He’s also delighted with the story’s modern-day twist. “I love the fact that it’s moved on, and that Peter has come to Los Angeles to meet his grandfather, who turns out to be an old hippie! That gives the story a fresh dynamic. And I like that he’s not in the least bit terrified by the wolf, when everybody else is freaking out.”
Giants Are Small, the boutique production studio has created Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood with its signature style, fusing theatre, film, puppetry, music and visual art. The company has a string of imaginative and highly acclaimed classical music ventures to its name, having created a ‘live animation’ of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale with the New York Philharmonic in 2005, Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre in 2010 and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in 2011 and Peter and the Wolf in 2008 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Le Grand Macabre was named Best Opera of the Year by the New York Times, New York magazine, and TimeOut New York. Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood is co-directed by live animation masters Doug Fitch and Edouard Getaz the founders of Giants Are Small.
The Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood app is aimed at deepening children’s engagement with both the music and the story. For each character in the story, the app offers a game that emphasizes the personality conveyed by the musical theme. At each key turning point in the story, the child can help Peter in his daring quest to rescue the wolf that has escaped from the zoo.
The result is an album and app with a humorous and fresh take on a much-loved classic, exploring themes of family and friendship, courage and heroism. A bonus section, featuring short videos, explores the making of the project, including how the music was recorded, and the fascinating creative process behind the visuals of the app.