Peter and the Wolf / Little Red Riding Hood

Two tales, indelibly etched onto our childhood memories, provide the source for the Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s double bill of Peter and the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood.

Sergei Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf in 1936, creating his own fairy tale for a musical suite designed to introduce young children to the instruments of the orchestra. In the story, the wolf chases and catches a duck before Peter’s ingenuity sees the wolf captured. The beast is humanely delivered to a zoo rather than shot by the huntsmen; nature tamed rather than destroyed.

The story of Little Red Riding Hood was first published by Charles Perrault in 1697, but its origins go as far back as the tenth century. A salutary tale of the dangers of venturing out into the forest alone, later adaptations by other authors, including the Brothers Grimm, see Little Red Riding Hood rescued in the nick of time rather than gobbled up by the wolf (who in Perrault’s version has already put paid to the young girl’s grandmother).

Unsurprisingly, both Peter and the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood have also received the Disney treatment. Walt Disney created his own Peter and the Wolf in 1946, faithful in many details to Prokofiev’s original, other than the fate of the duck who enjoys a rather happier ending. Little Red Riding Hood is one of the very earliest Disney cartoons, released in 1922, although the character did reappear alongside The Three Little Pigs in 1934’s The Big Bad Wolf.

With both tales so suited to the illusion of puppetry, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre is the ideal place to introduce our own children to two magical stories that brilliantly contemplate our relationship with the natural world.

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