[Above: The Devil (left, danced by Hanna Foshay) works its evil on The Princess and The Soldier (danced by Kenady Conforth and Matthew Michaels) in microphilharmonic’s production of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, aka The Soldier’s Tale, at The Shedd Institute; photos by Paul Carter.]

By Daniel Buckwalter

A morality tale played out Jan. 21 at The Shedd Institute, and the best part for lovers of dance and chamber music is that it continues tonight, at 7:30 p.m. at The Shedd Institute in downtown Eugene.

L’Histoire du Soldat (in English, The Soldier’s Tale) concludes its two-performance run with The Soldier and The Devil at a tug-of-war over the eternal questions: Can you have it all? And what does it mean to have it all?

Composed by Igor Stravinsky in collaboration with C.F. Ramuz, The Soldier’s Tale is performed by microphilharmonic and a dancing ensemble from The Shedd, with narration by Storm Kennedy.

The weary Soldier in this Russian folk story (Matthew Michaels) is trudging home on leave during World War I to see his fiancée, and he certainly believes he’s lucked into unlimited wealth, courtesy of a book offered him by The Devil-in-disguise (Hanna Foshay), a book that contains events that will happen in the future.

He gives The Devil his beloved fiddle in return and detours from his travels to spend three days at The Devil’s luxurious home to learn more about the book.

He certainly becomes rich beyond his imagination, but the cost is an empty soul and the loss of all he holds dear. He didn’t understand it, but those three days were really three years. His fiancée is now married to another man and has children. The entire town runs from him as if he’s a ghost.

The Soldier wants out. The Devil won’t allow it. The Narrator convinces the Soldier to lose all the money to The Devil in a card game. Without the money, The Narrator reasons, what hold does The Devil have over him?

So he loses all the money. The Soldier is set free. The Devil twists in the wind, and The Soldier can now run to the palace and see The Princess he has heard of at the start of Part II. She is on her sick bed — maybe her death bed — and whoever can raise her from that bed has been promised by The King to have her hand in marriage.

What follows is the prettiest segment of L’Histoire du Soldat in which The Soldier and The Princess (Kenady Conforth) dance with the energy of newfound love, and it generated well-deserved applause from the appreciative audience.

Yet The Soldier wants The Princess to meet his mother, away from the palace. The Devil returns and warns of dire consequences if he leaves. What follows is a frenzied dance between good and evil.

And the questions posed at the start of this tale remain: Can you have it all? And what does it mean to have it all?

You can find out tonight at The Shedd.

Storm Kennedy, left, is The Narrator in microphilharmonic’s production of L’Histoire du Soldat at The Shedd Institute in downtown Eugene. At right is Matthew Michaels as The Soldier.

[Microphilharmonic musicians are Michael Anderson (clarinet), Ben Greanya (cornet), Bryce Schmidt (cornet), Bailey Schmidt (trombone), Ian Kerr (percussion), Alice Blankenship (violin), and Tyler Abbott (double bass).]