When we think of Maurice Ravel compositions, we tend to think of his shimmering orchestral textures and delicate piano work. But he was also a supremely talented composer of vocal music, and in his two one-act operas created a pair of ravishing masterpieces. Director Laurent Penny has paired them together in an acclaimed double bill. It premiered in 2012 and was beloved by audiences and critics alike. This visual and musical treat returns to Glyndebourne's Festival line-up, August 2015. Even if you caught them the first time around, they are not to be missed.
L’heure espagnole - Glyndebourne 2015
L’heure espagnole opera, premiered in 1911, is a period comedy set in eighteenth century Spain. Concepción is the wife of a clockmaker, hungry for a more satisfying lover. But over the course of a day in her husband’s shop, she realises that her gentleman friends might be less worthy than a humble muleteer. Underneath the comic antics, it has an acute sense of sensual power. This is opera breaking through to the modern age, with vocal lines that echo speech and an innovative deployment of percussion. Pelly’s production takes these features and runs wild with them, creating a bawdy barnstormer likely to delight. Soprano Danielle de Niese, a star who first soared on the Glyndebourne stage in 2005’s Giulio Cesare, plays Concepción.
L’enfant et les sortileges - Glyndebourne 2015
The opera L’enfant et les sortileges, first performed in 1925, is both weightier and more fantastical, and quite unlike any opera beforehand. Over two scenes in a country house, a violent child finds himself transformed by the objects and creatures he has tortured. Crockery, books, trees and frogs come to life to teach their lessons in a swirl of song and dance. It is one part luscious phantasmagoria and one part minimalistic echo, as violence is brought into question in the aftermath of the First World War. Ravel himself said that it “requires an extraordinary production.” The reception in 2012 indicates that Pelly’s Glyndebourne staging lives up to the composer’s demands and then some.
|What||Ravel Double Bill, Glyndebourne|
|Where||Glyndebourne, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5UU | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Victoria (underground)|
08 Aug 15 – 30 Aug 15, 5:25 PM – 8:40 PM
|Website||Click here to book via Glyndebourne|