It’s been some time since the Tucson Symphony Orchestra performed the fully orchestrated version of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

That changes on Saturday, Feb. 20, when the orchestra joins with the Tucson Regional Ballet and Tucson broadcast personality Lupita Murillo to perform its first “Peter and the Wolf” in 14 years.

“I love ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and I remember it as a child,” said Murillo, who saw it performed by the San Antonio Symphony when she was growing up in Texas. “I have attended two rehearsals with the ballet, which is absolutely amazing. I am so impressed. On Saturday at 9 a.m., I rehearse with the symphony.”

José Luis Gomez, who on Wednesday was named TSO music director/conductor, will be at the podium for performances at 2 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave., across the plaza from the TSO’s regular home at Tucson Music Hall.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” he said of the work, which he recently conducted with an orchestra in Italy. “It’s a tale with music and it can be really entertaining for the whole family.”

Here’s what you can expect:

  • This is a children’s symphony with spoken word so bring the little ones. Prokofiev penned “Peter and the Wolf” in 1936 on commission from the Moscow Children’s Theatre. Its director was looking for a piece that would entertain children, but moreover she wanted something that would capture their imaginations and introduce them to instruments.

Prokofiev came up with a fairytale about a courageous boy and his animal friends on a quest to capture a ravenous wolf. He cast instruments in the roles of the characters: strings (violin, viola, cello) for Peter; bassoon for Grandfather; oboe for Duck; French horns for Wolf; flute for Bird; and clarinet for Cat.

A narrator — enter Murillo, a veteran KVOA Channel 4 reporter — chimes in to fill in the blanks. Murillo said she will read from the script during the performance in a mix of English and Spanish.

  • Tucson Regional Ballet will be on stage when the orchestra performs the piece. “Peter and the Wolf” has long been choreographed for ballet.

This is the first installment of the two-concert Family Series, which concludes on April 30 with “Cindy Ellen, Wild Western Cinderella,” a Southwestern spin on the classic “Cinderella” story.

The Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor Gomez bookends the Saturday concert with the TSO classic concert “Fountains of Life: Respighi & Strauss.” The concert’s centerpiece is TSO concertmaster Lauren Roth making her Classics Series solo debut performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

Gomez said the three composers share a common philosophy: they shine the spotlight on the orchestra and lush orchestration.

“That’s why I like the combination of these composers. They treat the orchestra very well,” he said.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.