Visual Magic Hits, Misses in Ravel-Stravinsky Bill

(Classical Voice North America) — A talking tea-pot, a wounded tree, dancing math equations–there is hardly a stage work that would lend itself better to animated film than Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges. Enter the British company 1927 (animator Paul Barritt, writer Suzanne Andrade, and performer Esme Appleton), which specializes in juxtaposing sets of tailor-made cartoons with live action. In its first foray into opera with Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2012, the wilder effects included Pamina’s ascent in butterfly wings after her suicide attempt and flying pink elephants that led Papageno to Papagena. The production was a blockbuster at home and later traveled as far as London and Los Angeles.

As seen on Jan. 28 at the Komische Oper in a double bill with Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka, 1927’s palette of imagery is even better suited to Ravel’s fantasy world in which the damaged objects of a boy’s bedroom come to life and haunt him until he understands the meaning of virtue.  The Boy (Nadja Mchantaf) first appears in pure animation until he is punished by his mother and enters the world of spirits. Perched on a platform in front of the projection, he appears to soar through the cosmos. Nevertheless, 1927’s imagination did not reach its full potential until subsequent tableaux.  […]