Stravinsky: Now for the prequel

Stravinsky: Now for the prequel


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2023

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is organising an interactive work for young people titled Before the Firebird.

From the blurb: Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird tells of a Prince, a magical bird, and their battle to defeat an evil king and release 13 captive sisters. Paul Rissmann and Hazel Gould’s imagined prequel tells the tale of how these brave sisters ended up under King Kastchei’s spell in the first place.

Before the Firebird is full of ways for the audience to join in; Rissmann and Kirkman will prepare the audience before the piece begins, and they can also learn the songs in advance in free workshops just before the concert. The story will be told onstage by Rissmann and the choirs of young people, while Kirkman will play the characters in the story, which include evil King Kastchei, the brave sisters, the magical Firebird and another terrifying baddie.


  • Harry Collier says:

    I first fell in love with Stravinsky’s Fire bird at the age of around 15. I didn’t need all these prequels to make me enjoy the music. Do audiences really need to be “prepared” to listen to and enjoy the Fire Bird?

  • Goldberg Variations says:

    I could understand it if they were going to play the real Firebird for the young people after the imagined prequel, but as a stand-alone thing I’m not convinced of the value of it.