When "The Soldier's Tale" premiered in 1918, an influenza epidemic cut short it's European performance tour.
Ironically, the flu caused some problems for Interlochen Arts Academy students as they practiced for the show earlier this year.
"I told the students this as we were starting, just some history about the piece ... and mentioned this about the flu season," Interlochen Arts Academy Band Director Matt Schlomer says. "Sure enough it was the next day that the flu started to come into campus."
"The Soldier’s Tale" is a theatrical work based on a Russian folk tale. The show includes actors, dancers and music written by Igor Stravinsky.
The Faustian tale tells about a soldier who sells his fiddle to the devil for the promise of untold riches.
Although this year marks the 100th anniversary of the show, Schlomer finds relevance in the story for his students today. He says they often have to choose between their art and making a comfortable living.
"There's no promise, no guarantee of a career, of safety, of income when you're a young artist. And so you really don't know how you're going to use your art to actually live," he explains. "They could take an easier path and trade their art in, so to speak."
With the flu behind them, Matt Schlomer and his students will perform "The Soldier's Tale" Saturday, February 3rd, at 7:30p.m. in Corson Auditorium.