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Music Text

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


colS,S,A,T,lyrT,Bar,2B; chorus

Abbreviations (PDF)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.

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 credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.

Recommended Recording

Natalie Dessay, Vsevolod Grivnov, Marie McLaughlin, Laurent Naouri, Albert Schagidullin, Maxim Mikhailov, Violeta Urmana, Olivier Berg, Wassyl Slipak, Grzegorz Staskiewicz, Paris National Opera Chorus, Paris National Opera Orchestra, James Conlon
EMI CDC5568742
Virgin DVD 5442429

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