by Jarrett Hoffman
The template for a good opera, according to Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges: fewer humans, more furniture.
The character list begins with a mischievous child and his mom, but soon branches out to include armchairs, a bench, a couch, a stool, a wicker chair, and a grandfather clock. Then the kitchenware, plants, and animals enter the fray.
But are singers okay with being cast as armchairs? That’s one of many questions I recently got to ask Dean Southern, head of the voice and opera division at the Cleveland Institute of Music. We spoke by phone about CIM Opera Theater’s upcoming double-bill, L’Enfant and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol — a fascinating work in its own right, and more rarely heard than the already uncommon Ravel.
Performances will take place in CIM’s Kulas Hall from Wednesday through Friday, November 7-9 at 7:30 pm, and on Saturday, November 10 at 3:00 pm. Harry Davidson will lead the CIM Orchestra, which will appear in size XL, thanks to the extensive instrumental colors called for by Ravel and Stravinsky.