Music: Surgery for Persephone

Igor Stravinsky's attempt to describe his Persephone was not too illuminating: "A nose," he said, "is not manufactured; a nose just is. Thus, too, my art." In the case of Persephone, the nose is neither ballet nor oratorio nor melodrama. A curiously hybrid work, it was first performed by the dancer Ida Rubinstein in 1934 and calls for a tenor, a chorus and full orchestra, and a leading lady who declaims a French text by André Gide while she dances. Persephone's score ranks with Stravinsky's most tautly constructed music—in his best neoclassic style—but...

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