The LSC makes its debut at the Lucerne Festival in 2018 with a performance of Ravel’s one-act opera L’Enfant et les Sortileges with the LSO conducted by Simon Rattle and an international line-up of soloists. The programme begins with the ballet version of Ravel’s Ma mere l’Oye (the so-called “Mother Goose” suite) and his Sheherazade.
During World War I, the Opera de Paris director Jacques Rouche asked Colette to provide the text for a fairy ballet. After Colette chose Ravel to set the text to music, a copy was sent to him in 1916 while he was still serving in the war; however, the mailed script was lost. In 1917, Ravel finally received a copy and agreed to complete the score, replying to Colette, “I would like to compose this, but I have no daughter.”
In L’Enfant et les Sortileges, it has been considered that Ravel may have portrayed himself in the lead role of the stubborn child who has no desire to do his homework and just sticks out his tongue at his mother. However, when the child is left alone as a punishment, remarkable things start happening: all the objects around him begin to come to life and pester him (the furniture, the dishes, even the fire in the grate). Ravel was very at ease in the company of children and enjoyed playing with them. In this short opera he is to be found at home.
Ravel said of the premiere production: