Portland Opera presents L'Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges

CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
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L'Heure Espagnole by Maurice Ravel title art

(The Spanish Hour)


L'enfant et les sortileges by Maurice Ravel title art

(The Bewitched Child)

April 1, 3m, 5, 7, 9, 2011 | Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway

(Portland, Ore) – Portland Opera announces what has become one of the most anticipated events of the opera season—the Portland Opera Studio Artist production in the intimate Newmark Theatre. This season, Maurice Ravel makes his Company debut with L’Heure Espagnole (The Spanish Hour) and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Bewitched Child).  One of the world’s favorite symphonic composers—everyone knows his Bolero—he is also one of the most unheard of opera composers, having written only these two works.  

Known not just for its intimate opera experience but also for its delicious mix of lesser-known or rarely performed operas, the Studio Production this season features an added, fifth performance.  Opening April 1, with additional performances April 3m, 5, 7, 9, the performances are guaranteed to enchant and provide plenty of wry humor and sly wit in a bright, shiny new package.

“The Studio Artist production is a chance for our young artists to shine,” says Portland Opera General Director—and stage director for this production—Christopher Mattaliano.  “This year we turn the spotlight on a renowned French composer who had a great love of fairy tales and fantasy,” Mattaliano said, “which makes him an ideal fit for this particular season of ‘Fantasy or Reality.’”

Ravel was born in 1875 and spent most of his life in Paris. He was known as one of music’s great perfectionists.  Stravinsky called him the “perfect watchmaker,” and indeed his works are precise, innovative, listenable, and irresistibly French.

These two, delightful one-act operas reveal his cleverness and capture the essence of what he loved most—machines, gadgetry, cats, children and storytelling. His fascination with these subjects is evident in both pieces.  In L’Heure Espagnole, a wickedly funny and naughty farce, the sounds of cuckoo clocks and ticking metronomes abound and musical jokes highlight its rather racy libretto. In L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Ravel creates a musical world where you believe that cats perform duets, armchairs sing and wallpaper comes alive.

L’Heure Espagnole—The Spanish Hour—is a highly amusing, little romp that is quintessentially French and frolics along the edge of fantasy and farce.  Concepcion has been bored with her absent-minded clockmaker husband for a long time and counts on his regular schedule of setting the city’s clocks to revel in her love affairs with complete freedom.  One day, the appearance of Ramiro, who needs a watch mended and is prepared to wait, sets in motion a chain of events that will have audiences laughing in glee.  

L’Enfant et les Sortilèges—The Bewitched Child—whisks us straight into the world of fantasy as a naughty young boy misbehaves and is sent to his room without dinner.  He throws a tantrum and breaks every inanimate object in sight. He collapses into an armchair, which, along with other domestic items, comes to life and chides him for his bad behavior. He learns a valuable lesson and his life is changed, much for the better.

The all-new productions will feature the PORTLAND OPERA STUDIO ARTISTS and the return of two very popular former Studio Artists, mezzo soprano HANNAH PENN and soprano SHARIN APOSTOLOU.  Both singers left indelible impressions on Portland when, as Studio Artists during the 2007/08 Season, with very short notice they went on in the title roles in Carmen (Hannah Penn) and Rodelinda (Sharin Apostolou) when the singers fell ill.  They triumphed and have been favorites ever since.  Current Studio Artists in the production include mezzo soprano DARYL FREEDMAN (Sandman in Hansel & Gretel, Venere in Il Ballo delle Ingrate, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, 2010, Aglaonice in Orphée, 2009), and tenor STEVEN BRENNFLECK (Pang in Turandot, 2011, tenor in Carmina Burana, Officer in The Barber of Seville, Ombra/Testo/Trio in Trouble in Tahiti/Monteverdi double-bill, 2010, Cégeste in Orphée, Parpignol in La Bohème, 2009) and baritone NICHOLAS NELSON (Mandarin in Turandot, 2011).  The cast also boasts several Portland artists including: CARL HALVORSON, MATTHEW HAYWARD, AMY COLE, JENNIFER GILL and ANNE MCKEE REED.

After kicking off the season with his hugely popular pairing of Pagliacci/Carmina Burana, CHRISTOPHER MATTALIANO directs the action once again, closing the season of “Fantasy & Reality.”  Making his conducting debut with the Company is WILLIAM VENDICE.  He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1983 and conducted numerous operas there as a member of the conducting staff.  Maestro Vendice is also the former Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master for Los Angeles Opera.  The design team’s work is well-known in Portland. The all-new production features sets by CURT ENDERLE (La Calisto 2009, Albert Herring 2008, The Return of Ulysses 2006, The Rape of Lucretia 2005), costumes by SUE BONDE (Trouble in Tahiti 2010, La Calisto 2009, Albert Herring 2008, The Return of Ulysses 2006, Hansel and Gretel 1995, An American Magic Flute 1991, Cinderella 1996) and lighting by DON CROSSLEY (Trouble in Tahiti 2010, La Calisto 2009, Albert Herring 2008).


L'Heure Espagnole (The Spanish Hour)

ConcepciónDaryl Freedman †
GonzalveSteven Brennfleck †
GomezNicholas Nelson †
RamiroMatthew Hayward *
TorquemadaCarl Halvorson

L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Bewitched Child)

The ChildHannah Penn
Mama, Chinese Cup, DragonflyDaryl Freedman †
Teapot, Arithmetic, FrogSteven Brennfleck †
Armchair, TreeNicholas Nelson †
Fire, Princess, NightingaleSharin Apostolou
Black Cat, Grandfather ClockMatthew Hayward *
Bat, Owl, ShepherdessAnne McKee Reed
White Cat, Squirrel, ShepherdJennifer Gill
BergereAmy Cole
ConductorWilliam Vendice
Stage DirectorChristopher Mattaliano
Scenic DirectorCurt Enderle
Costume DesignerSue Bonde
Lighting DesignerDon Crossley


With the Portland Opera Orchestra

* Portland Opera debut
† Portland Opera Studio Artist

For plot synopsis and detailed cast bios visit www.portlandopera.org.

L'Heure Espagnole (The Spanish Hour)

Music:Maurice Ravel
Libretto:Franc-Nohain, after his play of the same name
Lyrics:Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage
World Premiere:Paris, Opéra-Comique (Salle Favart), May 19, 1911
Portland Opera Premiere: April 2011


L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Bewitched Child)

Music:Maurice Ravel
Lyrics:Sung in French with English translations projected above the stage
World Premiere:Monte Carlo, March 21, 1925
Portland Opera Premiere:April 2011


PERFORMANCES:          April 1, 3m, 5, 7, 9, 2011
All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on April 3.

(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)


In its ongoing quest to make Opera as accessible as possible, Portland Opera has a robust schedule of events designed to explore the many facets of L'Heure Espagnole and  L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.


Reel Opera Film Series

In a new partnership with the Northwest Film Center, film buffs and opera aficionados alike will enjoy a film before each opera production.  Not designed to share filmed versions of actual operas, this series will present a film that is related to the production in some interesting way.

03/21/11    6:30pm | Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum | $9
CHILDREN OF PARADISE, directed by Marcel Carne, France 1945

One of the triumphs of French cinema, CHILDREN OF PARADISE is a dazzling and moving evocation of the forces of romanticism and social change in mid-19th century Paris. While set in the 1840s, Jacques Prevert’s screenplay offers a courageous response to the German occupation of France during World War II as it deals with themes of artistic freedom and expression. With epic scope, Carne creates a swirling world of passions and larger-than-life characters in a world of art and artifice where fate takes control. (190 mins.)


L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges Previews


L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges preview on “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm at 6pm.


03/27/11 L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges preview, Multnomah County Central Library in Collins Gallery, 2pm, Free!


Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche 

A unique partnership with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, Destination Opera explores the hidden subtexts of each opera this season. Ralph Beaumont, MD, joins Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, to debate and discuss L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.
04/08/11  7:00pm | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97209.  Free

Opera Insights

These free and informative sessions, led by musicologist Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the
evening’s opera in ways that make the evening’s performance even more satisfying.
1 hour prior to each performance.  First Balcony Level.  Free.

Back Talk

Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director
Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room
performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A. 
Free. Orchestra Level.


L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE (The Spanish Hour)


Fri. 04/01, Tues. 04/05, Thurs. 04/07, Sat. 04/09 at 7:30pm | Sun. 04/03 at 2:00pm
Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway


Regular tickets available at $75.00 can be purchased:

BY PHONE:    Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737,
                      (Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm).
                      Ticketmaster, 800-982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).

ONLINE:        www.ticketmaster.com 

IN-PERSON:  Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.)                                          Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm.
                      Ticketmaster outlets. 
                      Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).

6:30 RUSH:    Students/Military, $10 per ticket, Seniors $20 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all
                       available unsold seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.


More information about tickets and the production—including cast bios, informative articles, video clips and interviews—can be found at www.portlandopera.org.



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