L’enfant et les sortileges (“The Child and the Spells”) will be presented by New York University’s Program in Vocal Performance, December 8 (8 p.m.), 9 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.), 10 (3 p.m.), at NYU’s Black Box Theatre (82 Washington Square East [enter on Washington Place]). Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 with valid NYU ID. For more information and to make ticket reservations, call 212.998.5281. Subway Lines: A, B, C, D, E, F, V (West 4th Street); R, W (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place).
NYU’s production will be directed by Martha Collins, with music direction by faculty member Grant Wenaus. The cast and orchestra will feature undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from The Steinhardt School’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.
Colette chose Ravel to set the text to music, and a copy was sent to him during the time he was serving in the war in 1916. The text was lost and was not received by Ravel until well into 1917. The show features music by Maurice Ravel and a libretto by Colette. The opera was conceived during World War I when Opera de Paris director Jacques Rouche asked Colette to provide a text for a fairy ballet. Set in an old-fashioned Normandy country home, L’enfant tells the story of a rude child who is reprimanded by the objects in his room which he has been destroying. After being scolded by his mother, the child throws a tantrum and destroys the room around him. He is then surprised to find that the unhappy objects in his room come to life. The furniture and decorations begin to talk; even his homework takes shape as it becomes an old man and a chorus of numbers. The bedroom then becomes a garden filled with singing animals and plants which have been tortured by the child. Finally the child learns his lesson. Ravel has said that he modeled much of the opera after the work of Gershwin and American operettas of the time. The first performance of the piece took place in Monte Carlo on March 21, 1925. It was conducted by Victor de Sabata and also included ballet sequences by George Balanchine.
For more information about L’enfant et les sortileges, please contact the Steinhardt Production Office at 212.998.5069.