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Ravel: L'heure Espagnole, L'enfant Et Les Sortileges / Gadelia, Gay, Oustrac, Madore, Ono

Ravel / Fahima / Gadelia / London Pco / Ono
Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  Fra Musica   Catalog #: 8  
Composer:  Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Stéphanie D'OustracFrançois PiolinoElliot MadorePaul Gay,   ... 
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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RAVEL L’heure espagnol.1 L’enfant et les sortilèges2 Kazushi Ono, cond; Stéphanie d’Oustrac (Concepción, Cat, Squirrel); 1 Read more class="ARIAL12">Alek Shrader (Gonzalve); 1Fançois Piolino (Torquemada); 1Elliot Madore (Ramiro); 1Paul Gay (Don Iñigo Gomez); 2Khatouna Gadelia (The Child); 2Elodie Méchain (The Mother, Teapot, Dragonfly); 2Elliot Madore (Cat, Grandfather Clock); 2Paul Gay (Armchair, Tree); 2Julie Pasturaud (Chair, Bat); 2François Piolino (Teapot, Arithmetic, Frog); 2Kathleen Kim (Fire, Princess, Nightingale); 2Natalia Brzezi?ska (Shepherd); 2Hila Fahima (Shepherdess); 2Kirsty Stokes (Owl); London PO; Glyndebourne Ch FRAMUSICA 008 (103:00+23:00). Live: Glyndebourne 8/2012

Ravel’s two operas are not for canary-fanciers, but are a musician’s delight. These performances from the 2012 Glyndebourne Festival are especially noteworthy for the conducting of Kazushi Ono and the staging of Laurent Pelly. Ono’s precision does not get in the way of some of the composer’s orchestral effects, as the London Philharmonic’s washes of color sweep over us. Pelly’s career has had its ups and downs, but this double bill finds him at his best, whether in the delicate slapstick (I realize that’s an oxymoron) of L’heure espagnol (comédie musicale is the composer’s term) or capturing the childlike qualities that permeate the fantaisie lyrique that is L’enfant et les sortileges. L’heure is adapted from Pelly’s production for the Paris Opéra, where for some strange reason it was part of a double bill with Gianni Schicchi. Presenting the opera with its sibling makes far more sense, as we can appreciate the composer’s range. Caroline Ginet and Florence Evrard’s busy set for L’heure allows all of the composer’s and librettist’s directions to be followed, so we can appreciate Elliot Madore’s muscle-bound muleteer as he transports the clocks up and down the stairs. Alek Shrader’s hippy Gonzalve is so infatuated with himself that he has little attention to spare for Concepción, while François Piolino at times resembles a character out of Contes d’Hoffmann. Paul Gay’s banker is properly stuffy, but it is Stéphanie d’Oustrac, in the sole female role, singing and acting with allure, who is the focal point. One could question Pelly’s penchant as costume designer for dressing his women in shmatas. And what about that little productorial gloss at the end when Concepción and Ramiro run off together?

L’enfant is treated with just the right touch of delicacy, Khatouna Gadelia a perfect little boy in her actions. The rest of the cast makes sporadic appearances but special mention must be made of d’Oustrac, Piolino, and Elodie Méchain. Cats, porcelain, trees, clocks are all given their due. In both works the quality of the French was exceptional, with only Kathleen Kim struggling with the French vowels but tossing off her vocal fireworks with aplomb. It is a difficult work to stage, as it is easy to cultivate a false naïveté, or one can become obsessed with the technical problems of all the inanimate objects coming to life or the animals becoming vocal participants, but Pelly for once does not slide over into excess, allowing us to appreciate the composer’s setting of Colette at full value.

FANFARE: Joel Kasow
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Works on This Recording

L'heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Stéphanie D'Oustrac (Mezzo Soprano), François Piolino (Tenor), Elliot Madore (Baritone),
Paul Gay (Baritone), Alek Shrader (Tenor)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1909; France 
L'enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Elodie Méchain (Mezzo Soprano), Stéphanie D'Oustrac (Mezzo Soprano), François Piolino (Tenor),
Elliot Madore (Baritone), Khatouna Gadelia (Soprano), Paul Gay (Baritone),
Julie Pasturaud (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Kazushi Ono
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920-1925; France 

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