There was much to be excited about at last night’s Academy Awards, with several thrilling and surprising wins, including Tilda Swinton‘s Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Marion Cottilard’s nod for Best Actress. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova‘s win for Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly” from the beautiful film Once) was particularly moving. If you work in public television, you got excited about another category that the average viewer might not have been paying attention to: Best Animated Short Film. That’s because the winner, PETER AND THE WOLF, comes to NPT and PBS stations nationwide on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. as part of Great Performances.
Sergei Prokofiev’s fanciful musical tale Peter and the Wolf is given new life in this innovative animated interpretation. Originally composed in 1936, the piece famously uses personified instruments in the orchestra to tell the story — also penned by the composer — of young Peter and his animal friends the Duck, the Bird and even a mischievous Cat (represented by an oboe, flute and clarinet, respectively). Peter, himself represented by the string section, becomes an unsuspecting hero and frees his small Russian village from the Wolf (French horns) intent on menacing the whole town — not to mention Peter’s beloved animal friends. Conceived and directed by award-winning animator Suzie Templeton, this modern-day “Peter and the Wolf” uses stop-frame model animation, puppets and digital photography to re-tell this enduring classic, and features the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Mark Stephenson performing Prokofiev’s iconic score.