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Not long ago, I watched a performance of
L’enfant et les sortileges,” Maurice Ravel’s second
and final opera, composed between 1920 and 1925.
It was quite good and primarily staged as a ballet,
performed by the Netherlands Dance Theater.
The production was directed by choreographer
Jiří Kylián, who also provided a six-minute
introduction to the performance. While the dancers
performed onstage, the singers provided the
vocal parts, sounding loud and clear. Since the
staging required a great deal of movement,
dividing the cast “responsibilities” allowed the
dancers to perform at their best.

The story is a tale of a boy who doesn’t want to
do his homework and flies into a tantrum, assaulting
everything in the room. Magically, all of the objects
in the room come to life. Eventually, the boy learns
his lesson in a very touching ending.

Maestro Lorin Maazel conducted the Orchestre
National Paris in this 1986 performance. The recorded
sound was excellent on this 51-minute DVD, released
by the Image label during 2001.

Ravel, the “Master Orchestrator,” is very much
to the fore in this music, and his “child at heart”
persona has a welcome vehicle in this libretto by Colette.
This short work is billed as a “Fantasie Lyrique in
Two Parts.” It’s a delight, and I recommend this
disc wholeheartedly.