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The Boston Globe


Music Review

BSO program a double treat

Igor Stravinsky’s “The Nightingale” (1914) and Maurice Ravel’s “L’enfant et les sortilèges” (1925) are 45-minute operas that assert the healing power of nature’s creatures and of song. The ­only thing better than having one on a program is having both, which is what the Boston Symphony Orchestra ­under guest conductor Charles Dutoit offered at Symphony Hall Thursday night.

In “The Nightingale,” based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, the title bird enthralls the Chinese emperor ­before being replaced by a mechanical nightingale that the Japanese emperor gives him. Later, as the Chinese emperor is dying, the nightingale returns and makes death relent by promising to sing every night. It’s a dark tale with a symbolist libretto: the nightingale sings of roses that weep and tears that are stars, and Stravinsky’s music echoes the anxieties of “Le sacre du printemps.”

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