Stravinsky, Igor: Le Rossignol (The Nightingale) (1908-14, rev.1962) 45'

A musical fairy tale in three acts

Music Text  
Libretto by the composer and Stepan Mitusov (R,E,F,G)

colS,S,A,T,lyrT,Bar,2B; chorus 2.picc.2.corA.3(III=bcl).3(III=dbn)- ant.cym/tgl/SD/BD/2glsp/tamb/tam-t-2harp-cel-pft-gtr-mand-strings
Abbreviations (PDF)

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World Premiere
Théâtre National de l'Opéra, Paris
Boris Romanov, choreographer / Paris Opera / Pierre Monteux

Repertoire Note  
Like The Fairy's Kiss, also inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, The Nightingale recaptures the fairy-tale world of the composer's childhood. Act I, with its plaintive Fisherman, recalls the romantically iridescent style of Rimsky-Korsakov. Acts II and III, composed some four years later, postdate The Rite of Spring; here, Stravinsky's evocation of a bizarre Chinese court, its bells and lanterns, is a sardonic phantasmagoria. The silvery arabesques and trills of the Nightingale banish Death from the Emperor's bedside. In 1917, the opera was turned into a ballet. Stravinsky: "I had been thinking of making a symphonic poem for orchestra by combining the music of Acts II and III of The Nightingale, which were homogeneous, and I told Diaghilev I would place that at his disposal if he cared to make a ballet of it. He warmly welcomed the suggestion."

Reproduction Rights
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.

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