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Tristram Kenton In both style and substance, Maurice Ravel's two operas are poles apart. The first, L'Heure espagnole (1911) , is a risque little sex comedy about a woman's frustrations as she tries to get in a quickie during the hour a week that her
Stephanie D'Oustrac (Concepcion), Alex Shrader (Gonzalve), Francois Piolino (Torquemada), Paul Gay (Don Inigo Gomez) and Elliot Madore (Ramiro). Photograph: Tristram Kenton L'heure espagnole Clocks of various shapes and sizes stand around Torquemada'
Loosely translated as "Spanish time", L'heure espagnole , suggests a semi-Tantric deferment of erotic abandon. Every nation has preconceptions about other nations' sex lives, particularly when those other nations enjoy a warmer, disinhibiting climate.
Francois Piolino as Teapot and Elodie Mechain as Chinese Cup in L'enfant et les sortileges at Glyndebourne: near flawless'. Photograph: Simon Annand Artifice and technical perfection: chilling terms when applied to almost any work of art outside the
Ravel's small, perfectly-formed oeuvre includes just two short operas, but the second, L'enfant et les sortileges', is a masterpiece. Glyndebourne has imported Laurent Pelly's Paris production of L'heure espagnole' and got him to create a new one for
Colette as a young girl L'enfant et les sortileges opens the way to other disturbing 'child' operas. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images In the world of opera the librettist often plays second fiddle to the composer. But this is not the case with