L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES & PETRUSCHKA
Les 2, 4, 12 et 21.05.Direction musicale : Marc Piollet.
From the “Catalogue Aria” in Don Giovanni to the magical scenes in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, opera is dotted with inventive, intriguing inventories.
Prague Marchionesses and peasant girls, fat ones and thin ones, 640 in Italy, 231 in Germany, 1,003 in Spain . . . The “Catalogue Aria,” in which Don Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, rattles off the list of his master’s conquests to the abandoned Donna Elvira, is one of the most famous arias in opera history. What could be more invigorating or moving than to hear it again at the National Theater, where Mozart directed it for the first time in 1787, 231 years ago?
Düsseldorf Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, with a libretto by Colette, mixes onomatopoeia with ragtime and waltzes, ratchets and slide whistles with a singing teapot and sofa. The author of Claudine at School and the composer of Boléro created a scene in which the figure of Arithmetic chants of “millimeters, centimeters, decimeters . . . kilometers, myriameters.” French conductor Marc Piollet takes on this delightful work, together with Stravinsky’s ballet.
Paris Ravel’s short opera L’Heure espagnole, premiered in 1911, is full of clocks, some of which become hiding places for lovers. Tenor Philippe Talbot, totally at ease in the comic repertoire, is the cuckolded clockmaker. Concepción, his fickle wife who reminds us that “clocks have ears,” will be performed alternately by Clémentine Margaine and Michèle Losier. Laurent Pelly’s production was originally created for the 2003-2004 season, as was Puccini’s one-act Gianni Schicchi, also on the program.
© Hans Jörg Michel