Sunday, 30 August 2015

Learning Lessons (Ravel Double Bill/Glyndebourne)



Ravel, 'L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilèges ' (Robin Ticciati cond. LPO, Glyndebourne Festival)
It is impossible to imagine that Danielle de Niese has only recently returned to the stage having had a baby. Reports that her voice might have changed were quite unfounded, and it is a perfect fit for the Ravel double bill. She may not offer the longest, most luscious lines but the warm sounds and character were spot on.
L’heure espagnole is a romp with something of the sensibility of Il Turco but in Spain. Concepción (Danni) has a husband and number of lovers. Clock-maker husband, air-headed poet, old, and a bald town clerk; none prove satisfactory. The muscular muleteer who carries grandfather clocks hiding these lovers with ease up and down stairs turns out to be Concepción’s best bet. Innuendo abounds to a degree which might begin to embarrass the Carry On brigade. 
Glyndebourne Festival 2015, L’heure espagnole. Photographer: Richard Hubert Smith
Glyndebourne Festival 2015, L’heure espagnole. Concepción (Danielle de Niese), Gonzalve (Cyrille Dubois), Torquemada (François Piolino), Ramiro (Étienne Dupuis) and Don Íñigo Gómez (Lionel Lhote). Photographer: Richard Hubert Smith
Ticciati and the LPO produce beautiful music, with the wonderful ticking sounds at the start particularly fine. An even-handed account of the score gives space for the warmth and comedy. The stage is crammed (by Caroline Ginet) to the roof with the trappings of dreary life above a shop –washing machine and powder, and very many clocks. And a bull. So Concepción learns how to choose the best lover.

After the interval, Danielle is a naughty child in L’enfant et les sortilèges. A wretch made wise by compassion, I suppose. To teach it a lesson, the things she destroys and the animals she mutilates come to life in spectacular style. The giant tea-cup and tea-pot and frogs displayed on the underground made sense (by elimination I had figured this out I might add). The real heroes here have to be the stage crew who managed an unbelievable number of scene changes- as many as you might have in the Ring I suspect.  All a bit Alice-in-Wonderland. Sublime and surreal at once. 
Glyndebourne Festival 2015, L’enfant et les sortilèges.  Child (Danielle de Niese) with Glyndebourne Chorus as wallpaper figures. Photographer: Richard Hubert Smith
Glyndebourne Festival 2015, L’enfant et les sortilèges. Child (Danielle de Niese) with Glyndebourne Chorus as wallpaper figures. Photographer: Richard Hubert Smith
Overall: a perfect end of the festival. 
Many images here and here.

Cast and team:
Conductor Robin Ticciati
Director Laurent Pelly
Set Design
L’heure espagnole
Original Set Design Caroline Ginet & Florence Evrard
Set adapted by Caroline Ginet
L’enfant et les sortilèges
Set Designer Barbara de Limburg
Costume Design Laurent Pelly
in collaboration with Jean Jacques Delmotte
Lighting Designer Joël Adam
L’heure espagnole cast
Concepción Danielle de Niese
Ramiro Étienne Dupuis
Torquemada François Piolino
Don Íñigo Gómez Lionel Lhote
Gonzalve Cyrille Dubois
L’enfant et les sortilèges cast
Child Danielle de Niese
Mother/Chinese Cup/Dragonfly Elodie Méchain
Grandfather Clock/Tom Cat Étienne Dupuis
Armchair/Tree Lionel Lhote
Chair/Bat Julie Pasturaud
Fire/Princess/Nightingale Sabine Devieilhe
Cat/Squirrel Hanna Hipp
Shepherd Emma Kerr
Shepherdess Charlotte Beament
Teapot/Little Old Man (Arithmetic)/Frog François Piolino
Owl Pamela Wilcock
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus




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