The double bill of L'heure espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges is ever musically beguiling. I fell in love with the former when we did a production of it at Glyndebourne at the behest of the BBC for the opening season of the BBC's second television channel in 1965. We produced three one act operas for them to mark this event, and no doubt also to send a signal that opera and the arts were core to the mission of the new channel. The others were Dido and Aeneas with Janet Baker in the title role, and Busoni's Arlecchino.
The first controller of BBC 2 was the great and good David Attenborough of all people. And he is still going strong of course, but concentrating more on another form of wild life!
Later when I was General Administrator of Glyndebourne in the 1980s we produced the full double bill in a memorable production by Frank Corsaro designed by Maurice Sendak.
Ravel uses an enormous orchestra for these two pieces. This is bound to be something of a problem in such a small theatre as the Britten at the RCM. It has a huge pit so they fit in. But fitting in the sound is more of a problem!
Nevertheless the pleasures were many, and there are clearly some splendid young voices at the RCM. I enjoyed the array of excellent young women - including Angela Simkin a glamorous and seductive Concepción, both vocally and otherwise, and Filipa van Eck a lustrous voiced and dramatically plausible L'enfant.
I will return for the other cast this evening. The changes are mainly in the L'heure cast - but there will also be three new ones in L'enfant.