Leeds, London and Birmingham all host what promise to be great performancesby Neil Norman / August 16, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
L’enfant et les sortilèges
Leeds Grand Theatre, 16th September to 18th November
Ravel’s second opera is a kind of diabolical Toy Story. A warning to children it tells of a child who mistreats animals, toys and objects with a disdain bordering on the sadistic. When the objects come alive and give him a dose of his own medicine matters get really lively. Originally intended as a ballet it evolved into an opera over the years following Ravel’s wartime experiences and finally received its premiere in 1925 in Monte Carlo with ballet scenes choreographed by Georges Balanchine. Surreal, nightmarish and ultimately redemptive (see below) it is one of the rare examples of an opera that transcends its origins to become an exquisite jewel. Never mind Disney—if you want to know what a singing armchair sounds like, go to Leeds.