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French Opera Double Bill

| New England Conservatory: Jordan Hall

Semistaged production of works by Debussy and Ravel, with NEC opera singers and the NEC Philharmonia, Hugh Wolff, conductor. Joshua Major directs.

While both works are French, are from the world of a century ago, and concern disobedient children, they tell two very different stories.

L'enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Son)

At sunrise Lia laments the absence of Azaël, her prodigal son. He forsook his home to explore the world and seek its pleasures. Lia’s husband, Simeon, is weary of her preoccupation with her absent son. After the appearance and dance of young villagers, Azaël enters, returning home world weary and grateful. He is joyfully reunited with his mother who urges Siméon to forgive and welcome him home. Happiness ensues and they call for a feast, singing praises to God.

L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magical Creatures)

The child is feeling bored and rebellious and refuses to do his homework. After his mother scolds him, he throws a tantrum and destroys his room and its contents. He breaks things, including the clock, teapot, and saucer, tears apart books, rips the wallpaper, and tortures his pets. The objects of the child's tantrum come to life and begin to show him the effect his actions have on the world around him. The scene shifts to the garden, a beautiful world that excludes him, but also proves to need him. Frogs, insects, bats, birds, and trees accuse him of reckless behavior. When a squirrel who is hurt in the chaos is attended to by the child, restoration begins. In the act of selflessness we find mercy and acceptance.

Program

  1. L'enfant prodigue

    Composer: Claude Debussy

    Conductor: Hugh Wolff

    Ensemble: NEC Opera, NEC Philharmonia

  2. L'enfant et les sortilèges

    Composer: Maurice Ravel

    Conductor: Hugh Wolff

    Ensemble: NEC Opera, NEC Philharmonia

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