Having refused to do his homework, a child takes it out on his cat and mistreats his squirrel. But then, the armchair and the clock come to life, the fire grows menacing and darkness envelops the room.
It is the beginning of a fantastic yet disquieting journey: Colette "who wrote the libretto for l'enfant et les sortilèges "knew well enough that all forms of desire have a downside and one must learn to master them in order to grow.
Thirsting for freedom, Ravel's music happily blends styles"from polyphony to waltz, ragtime to polka "and finds the right notes to express the magic of the subconscious.
Le Nain casts the same lucid and merciless gaze on the shadows of childhood. It took the brilliant and provocative mind of Oscar Wilde to imagine the story of the Spanish Infanta who receives a dwarf as a toy. But the dwarf, who believes himself to be a noble knight, is devastated when he discovers his reflection in the mirror.
Zemlinsky's score, both concise and of formidable dramatic efficiency, makes this cruel tragedy all the more moving.