Prokofiev’s masterpiece a perfect choice for half-term

If you’re looking for a relaxing cultural, architectural and musical experience for the whole family, then the Royal Danish Orchestra’s performance of Peter and the Wolf on the main stage of the Opera House, with three shows over two days, might just fit the bill.

Originally commissioned as an educational piece in 1936 to whet the musical appetites of Russian youngsters, the familiar strains of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf have enthralled generation after generation ever since − most recently being adapted by British TV station ITV as a theme tune for the 2012 European Championship. All the characters in the story have their own unique sound and instrument. The bird’s flute, the duck’s oboe, the cat’s clarinet, the grumpy grandfather’s bassoon and the menacing tones of the wolf’s French horn are all showcased, while the string section representing Peter is the work’s most recognisable melody.

The popular work has been immortalised with recordings featuring narrators as diverse as Boris Karloff, Sir John Gielgud, Sean Connery, Paul Hogan, David Bowie and Dame Edna Everage.

During the autumn half-term, October 19 and 20, the Royal Danish Orchestra (Det Kongelige Kapel) will be performing the short masterpiece together with actor Henrik Koefoed as the narrator of the exciting story. The orchestra is the oldest of its kind in the world, dating back to 1448. Today, its 130 musicians are internationally respected. Henrik Koefoed is best known for his contributions as part of the Danish comedy foursome Sons of the Desert (Ørkenens Sønner), but does come from a musical background and plays a mean trombone himself.

Prior to each of the three concerts, children and their parents will have the chance to meet the musicians in the foyer and listen to them talk about their instruments. After this, budding young musical geniuses can have a bash at the woodwind and string instruments themselves to see if they can get a decent sound out of them.

The Copenhagen Opera House, one of the most expensive of its kind in the world, was controversially donated to the state by the AP Møller and Chastine Møller Foundation. Designed by renowned Danish architect Henning Larsen, the  building is well worth a visit in its own right. The conflicts between Mærsk and Larsen during the actual construction, especially regarding the impressive glass front, are the stuff of legend, and tour guides at the opera provide some entertaining tales.

Since the inauguration of the landmark Opera House in Copenhagen in 2005, the Royal Danish Orchestra has made full use of this acoustically superb platform for its many activities, including its regular and enjoyable hands-on workshops for children.

There’s plenty of reasons to check out this performance of the timeless classic, Peter and the Wolf. It’s a great way to open up the minds of kids to the wonderful world of classical music, as well as a chance to experience the majestic Opera house first hand. 

Peter and the Wolf
The Opera House,
19-20 October
Tickets: 150kr, under-25s: 75kr
Recommended for children over 5 years of age.