"L'Historie du Soldat"

(The Soldier's Tale)

Saturday, February 22, 2020 - 7:30 p.m.

Mayville State University Old Main Theatre


Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) will be presented February 22, 2020 at Mayville State University and February 23, 2020 at the North Dakota Museum of Art (NDMOA) at the University of North Dakota Sunday, February 23, 2020. The event is a collaboration of the Mayville State University Fine Arts Series, Mayville State University Theatre, and the NDMOA Fine Arts Series. Artists are faculty from Mayville State University, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and Concordia College and actors and dancers are from the Mayville State University Theater Department.

Click here to purchase tickets online.

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 WW I. 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.

Post Performance Social

All who attend the performance are invited to enjoy refreshments immediately following the show. This time of socializing will take place just outside the Old Main Theatre.


Tickets are $25 for adults, and $15 for students. 

Tickets may be purchased at the MSU Bookstore, 701-788-4823. 

Click here to purchase tickets online.


Contact Bob Sylskar at robert.sylskar@mayvillestate.edu or 701-788-4725.

The Soldier's Tale artwork by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.