The Nightingale (Le rossignol)
Composer: Igor F Stravinsky
Composer Bio: Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky is widely considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Noted for his stylistic diversity, Stravinsky is known for his revolutionary rhythmic styling and orchestration while paying tribute to masters such as J.S. Bach and Tchaikowsky. Born in Russia and a naturalized citizen of France and the United States, he wrote two operas after emigrating to America.

A complex and dark man, Stravinsky wrote of his childhood in his autobiography, “I never came across anyone who had any real affection for me.” Studying piano and composition from an early age he had his first taste of the orchestra at the age of eight when he saw Tchaikowsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre. Though his father was a bass singer he encouraged the young Igor to study law instead of music, a fate from which he was spared with the timely arrival of Bloody Sunday and his university’s consequent closure. Instead of entering the Petersburg Conservatoire he began twice weekly composition lessons with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He traveled the world to collaborate with many esteemed artists in varied fields, settling in Switzerland, France, and Los Angeles.

Though most commonly recognized for his ballets, Stravinsky possessed a passionate curiosity for all types of music, art, and literature. Successful throughout his career and in equal measures known for his pendulous pride and modesty, Stravinsky wrote in similarly polar genres incorporating Russian folk songs, neoclassicalism, and twelve-tone techniques. He moved to New York City in 1969 where he died at the age of 88. He was buried in Venice.
Librettist: Stepan Mitussov
Original Cast: Aurelia Dobrovolska (Nightingale)
Aleksandr Varfolomejev (Fisherman)
Maria Brian (Cook)
Pjotr Pavel Andrejev (Emperor)
Aleksandr Belianin (Chamberlain)
Nikolaj Goulajev (Bonze)
Elisabeth Petrenko (Death)
Mamsina (1st Japanese emissary)
Vasilj Saranov (2nd Japanese emissary)
Fodor Ernst (3rd Japanese emissary)
Premiere Date: May 26, 1914
Producing Company: Théâtre National de l'Opéra in Paris
Description: Set in ancient China, a fisherman tells the story of a bird whose song is so sweet is causes those to hear it to lose their troubles. When a cook hears the nightingale's song and experiences its miraculous effects she tells the Emperor's officials of the wonder and is invited to the court with the bird. When the Emperor hears the nightingale's song he is so touched he offers a reward of a golden slipper to wear around it's neck.

When Japanese emissaries bring a fake nightingale to the court, the real bird is banished. Later the Emperor becomes deathly ill and is visited by the ghosts of his past deeds. The nightingale defies the banishment and appears before the court, asking Death to return the Emperor's crown, sword, and standard in exchange for a the bird's beautiful song. The Emperor returns to health and is deeply sorry for his wrongdoing, returning the nightingale to its position of honor. The nightgale accepts the Emperor's tears as reward and promises to sing for him each night from dusk until dawn.
Character List (Major): Nightingale (col s)
Fisherman (t)
Cook (s)
Emperor (b)
Chamberlain (b)
Bonze (b)
Death (contralto)
Character List (Minor): 1st Japanese emissary (s)
2nd Japanese emissary (b)
3rd Japanese emissary (t)
Length: Length is not available.
Total Acts: 3
Contact: Boosey and Hawkes
Address: 229 W 28th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10001
E-mail Address: composers.us@boosey.com
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site: http://www.boosey.com
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