Rice University: Shepherd School presents virtual opera June 24 and 25: ‘L’enfant et les sortilèges’

Magical toys, the spoiled child who torments them and a story of redemption is the focus of “L‘enfant et les sortilèges,” the Rice University Shepherd School of Music‘s latest opera production, once again offered in a virtual format due to the ongoing pandemic.

The opera, written by Maurice Ravel with a libretto by Colette, will air on the Shepherd School’s YouTube channel June 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. and will be sung in French with English subtitles. Pat Diamond is stage director for the production.

In the opera, the spoiled yet lonely child tries to make his life less boring by manipulating the world around him. When he is unhappy, this manipulation damages the very objects that give him pleasure. As these objects mutiny against him, he learns empathy and tries to heal the objects around him, becoming one with his world. Miah Im, director of opera studies at Rice, said the whimsical story ends with the child gaining redemption when he performs a single, courageous act of selflessness.

Along with the live performers (including a flute, cello and two pianos), the opera features digital animation by Swagger Film Production.

“Our vision is an innovative, fresh look at a timeless story,” Im said. “The production comes alive as if the pages of the score have leaped to life.”

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