Like menus in a foreign language, concert programs in a foreign language can look more impenetrable than they really are. Stumped by “Čajkovskij, La fanciulla di neve”? Try “Tchaikovsky, The Snow Maiden.” Mind you, The Snow Maiden (or Snegurochka) is a title that lovers of the Russian repertory associate with a full-length opera—prologue plus four acts—by that wondrous fabulist Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Turns out that one is based on a play by Alexander Ostrovsky, which premiered several years ahead of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera with incidental music and vocal sequences by that perhaps even more wondrous fabulist Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. That’s the version we’re talking about at Santa Cecilia. Stanislav Kochanovsky conducts. Agunda Kulaeva and Alexander Mikhailov take the vocal parts, assisted by the narrator Milena Vukotic, who fills in the blanks in the story line. —M.G.