Maurice Ravel was fascinated by Spain, as evidenced by his Boléro and his entertaining one-act play L'Heure espagnole. In his own words, the composer wanted to breathe new life into the comic Italian opera of yesteryear. He therefore chose Franc-Nohain's popular play, which is bursting with comic potential.
The ingredients? Start with a dutiful clockmaker and his adulterous wife. Add to that a musclebound donkey driver and some lovers and lock them up in a clock. Served with Ravel's playful compositions – the ticking clocks are even reflected in the music – and everything is just right. Right up to the hand of director Tom Goossens, who previously proved he knows what to do with opera and comic love intrigues. Ravel's world-famous Boléro is playfully used as a surprising prologue in which employees of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen play a starring role.
With L'Heure espagnole, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen is performing an opera for the first time with the Youth Orchestra Flanders. This new symphonic youth orchestra was founded in partnership with the Brussels Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen Symphony Orchestra. Under the guidance of experienced orchestra members and conductors, promising young musicians get a taste of the professional circuit in the major culture houses. In addition to the symphonic repertoire, the up-and-coming musicians will venture into ballet and opera. For this first edition, outstanding young talent Yi-Chen Lin will guide the Youth Orchestra Flanders through Ravel's virtuoso orchestral scores.
Image: Tim Coppens