This new production of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges is a direct response to what has happened in the world over the last few months.  

 

The opera begins with a child being educated at home. The child is neglected and ignored by her parents and suddenly she is faced with a completely unexpected and unpredictable situation. The world is no longer quite what it seems; the characters she encounters are extraordinary, the environment she finds them in is unfamiliar and unsettling, and she learns that returning to a better version of her real world is something that she wants to fight for. 

 

Each of these characters are US – practitioners from the world of opera, who have been catapulted into our own uncertain and precarious circumstances. This filmed production brings us all together -  providing a creative focus, generating a company of performers and theatre makers who are working as a team to make a brand new show, reacting to and remembering the world as it is now. 

We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the Concordia Foundation, a fantastic charity who are supporting the most in-need artists who have been affected with loss of work, earnings and stability.

The film premières at 8pm UK time on Monday 16 November 2020 on the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Youtube Channel and Marquee Arts.

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Behind

the

scenes

L'Enfant - Emily Edmonds

Le Fauteuil - Marcus Farnsworth

Le Banc - Naomi Kilby

Le Pouf - Dalma Sinka

L'Horloge Comtoise - Kieran Rayner

La Tasse - Jane Monari

Une Pastourelle - Chloe Morgan

La Princesse - Claire Lees

Le Chat - Jerome Knox

Un Arbre - Michael Sumuel

Le Rossignol - Eleanor Penfold

La Rainette - Gavan Ring

La Chouette - Philippa Boyle

Le Papillon - Emily Rooke

Le Bourdon - Sarah Parkin

La Chenille - Maria Goso

La Taupe - Sonya Knussen

Le Triton - David Horton

Le Cerf - DeAndre Simmons

Maman - Karen Cargill

La Bergère - Alison Rose

Le Canapé - Mehreen Shah

La Chaise de Paille - Lauren Morris

La Théière - Thomas Atkins

Le Feu - Sarah Hayashi

Un Pâtre - Elizabeth Lynch

Le Petit Vieillard - Paul Hopwood

La Chatte - Shuna Scott Sendall

La Libellule - Idunnu Münch

L'Ecureuil - Marta Fontanals-Simmons

La Chauve-Souris - Elizabeth Karani

Le Hérisson - Emily Wenman

L'Escargot - Fiona Finsbury

Le Blaireau - Beth Moxon

Le Renard - Caroline Carragher

Le Lapin - Mélisande Froidure

La Loutre - Joseph Doody

Cast

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show

Chorus

Sopranos

Angela Ahiskal
Anne Wielink
Camilla Jeppeson

Charlotte Atkins
Claudia Wood
Eleanor Sanderson Nash
Emily Kirby-Ashmore

Emily Rooke
Emily Wenman
Evie Press

Fernanda Bermudez
Fiona Finsbury
Hannah Savignon Smythe
Kitty Casey
Krystal Macmillan

Lydia Wonham
Maggie Cooper
Mehreen Shah

Melissa Guiliamo

Miranda Ostler
Naomi Kilby
Sally Wild
Sarah Parkin
Sofia Livotov
Zoe Zdrojewski

Mezzo-sopranos

Antonida Kocharova
Beth Moxon
Caroline Carragher
Clare Ghigo
Dalma Sinka
Emily Noon
Grace Lovelass
Hanna-Liisa Kirchin
Jessica Stakenburg
Joanna Harries
Judy Brown
Lara Harvey

Leandra Ramm
Leanne Fitzgerald
Lindsay Bramley

Maartje Goes
Maria Goso
Maria Willis
Mélisande Froidure
Nancy Holt
Sonya Knussen

Tenors

David Horton
Iain Henderson
Ian Massa Harris
Joseph Doody
Kamil Bie
ń
Peter Martin
Ross Wilson

Baritones/Basses

Ben Newhouse-Smith
DeAndre Simmons
Ed Danon
Eugene Dillon Hooper
Frazer Scott
James Geidt
James Quilligan
John Mackenzie
Lawrence Gillians
Phil Wilcox
Sam Young

Creative Team

Director

Rachael Hewer

Conductor

Lee Reynolds

Designer

Leanne Vandenbussche

Cinematographer

&VFX Editor

James Hall

Sound

Guy

Jan Capiński

Orchestral

Sound Engineer

Myles Eastwood

Movement

Director

Ryan Munroe

Assistant

Director

Jaz Manville

Assistant

Conductors

Ashley Beauchamp &

Johann Stuckenbruck

Producer

Tamzin Aitken

Mandarin Text

Author

Victor Fong

French

Language Coach

Florence Daguerre

de Hureaux

Mandarin

Language Coach

Michael Lam

Guest Artists -

Rosie Brooks &

Pearl Bates

Reduced

Orchestration

Lee Reynolds

Orchestration

Consultant

Mark-Anthony

Turnage

Chorus

Audio Editor

Owen Stavenuiter

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Info

New Mandarin Text

Today the world is very different from the 1920s when L'Enfant et les Sortilèges was written.

In the scene with the teacup and teapot, we took the decision to make changes the original text written by Colette. In the original text, the teacup sings almost-nonsense syllables intended to sound like Chinese, and this fake-Chinese is taken up by the teapot towards the end of the scene. 

‘Below the surface’ of this nonsense text is a layer of meaning which, to French listeners, may just about be apparent; the syllables are just close enough to real French words that one can pick out the underlying message: “since you don’t understand this, it will always sound Chinese”. This hidden message from Colette, in the context of the time in which it was written (when the prosperous Parisian public was fascinated by the exoticism of all things from the East), skewers this fashionable objectification of Chinese culture.

We took the decision that, for a production in 2020, this presentation of a singer performing in nonsense-Chinese was not respectful, regardless of the fact that the original intention was not to take aim at Chinese culture, but Parisian high society's fascination with it. We wanted our production to speak to absolutely everyone, and not be seen to be belittling any culture with a phoney imitation of the language.

We commissioned a new text in Mandarin from poet Victor Fong, to be sung to the existing music. The meaning of this new text closely mirrors the hidden meaning of Colette’s original text:

Hey you - what the heck are you doing?
Since you can’t understand,
(You will never, ever, in your whole life understand)
It will always sound like Chinese.

For a copy of the new text and its setting to music, please contact VOPERA directly.

We consulted widely, with people outside our production team and from different cultural backgrounds, who brought professional expertise in this important and complicated matter of how to present different cultures in pieces of performance art written in the previous decades and centuries. In general terms, this is an ongoing matter, and we as creatives must continue to try to find the right answers to these important questions - there is always a balance to be struck between serving the authors’ original intentions and presenting productions which are a reflection of the values we hold today.