‹ Back to What's On L´enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spells)

16 Sep - 18 Nov 2017

Maurice Ravel's bewitching childhood fantasy
Part of The Little Greats

A naughty child assaults everything in his room after he is told off by his mother for not doing his homework. Gradually, the objects around him – furniture, clocks, crockery – come to life. Out in the garden, events take an even more disturbing turn when all the trees and animals rebuke him for the injuries he has done them in the past. Can the child redeem himself?

With colourful characters including a pair of singing cats, a teapot and china cup duo, a talking armchair, a tree-frog and a squirrel, Colette’s magical words are set by Ravel to a spellbinding musical score. This darkly brilliant opera celebrates the mysteries of childhood and will amuse and enchant adults and children alike.

L'enfant et les sortilèges is our schools' matinee. For familes: try our interactive pre-show workshop


Running Time

Approximately 45 minutes


Sung in French with English titles

The Music

See L'enfant et les sortilèges as a family matinee or in a double bill with Osud

What the critics say

...faithful to the score and the book but full of imaginative touches.

The Arts Desk - Full Review ›

The orchestra under Martin André provided washes of beautifully vivid colour...Wallis Giunta is a delight as the knobbly-kneed child.

The Telegraph - Full Review ›

...Arden's impeccable judgment of the work’s tone...The foxtrot for the Teapot (John Graham-Hall) and Chinese Cup (Ann Taylor) had the first-night audience in fits...

The Guardian - Full Review ›



  • The Child Wallis Giunta
  • His mother / Chinese cup / Squirrel Ann Taylor
  • Fire / Nightingale / Princess Fflur Wyn
  • Grandather Clock / Tom Cat Quirijn de Lang
  • Armchair / Tree John Savournin
  • Tea Pot / Tree Frog / Arithmetic John Graham-Hall
  • Louis XV Chair / Female Cat / Owl Katie Bray
Creative Team
  • Conductor Martin André (except 7, 28 October; 4, 11 November)
  • Conductor Anthony Kraus (7, 28 October; 4, 11 November)
  • Director Annabel Arden
  • Set Designer Charles Edwards
  • Costume Designer Hannah Clark
  • Lighting Designer Charles Edwards
  • Choreographer Theo Clinkard

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.

Leeds Grand Theatre

Find Us

46 New Briggate
Leeds Grand Theatre

Important Information

Box Office: 0844 848 2720 (calls cost 7ppm)

  • To access the Grand Theatre, there are six steps from the street up to the foyer or a wheelchair lift from the Grand Theatre Box Office to the foyer, and then lift access to the rest of the auditorium (excluding the Upper Balcony). Some areas of the auditorium do have steep stairs and may not be suitable for people with limited mobility. Please check with the Box Office. 
  • There are 6 wheelchair spaces: four in the Stalls and two in the Dress Circle.
  • There are accessible toilets at Stalls and Dress Circle levels. 
  • There is an infra-red system in operation for sound amplification. Headsets are available from the Grand Theatre foyer for a £5 refundable deposit. Please ask Box Office staff when booking for advice on the best seats to use this service. 
  • Support dogs are welcome in the auditorium and can be looked after on request. 
  • For refreshments, there are bars at Stalls, Upper Circle and Balcony levels.  

Choose from these fantastic pre-theatre dining options and make your experience complete!

The Alchemist

Opera North ticket holders can enjoy 20% off their food bill at The Alchemist. Located on the second floor of Trinity Shopping Centre, The Alchemist offers a fantastic menu and stunning views of Leeds City Centre. Not available Saturdays. 

Download Menu | Book online 


Manahatta is a recently opened bar and kitchen located on Merrion Street, just a minute's walk from Leeds Grand Theatre. Serving a fantastic New York inspired menu made with fresh local produce, guests will receive 20% off their food bill before 6.15pm with proof of ticket. Booking is required. 

Download Menu | Book online

North Bar

Opera North and Howard Assembly Room ticket holders can enjoy 10% off all drinks at New Briggate's finest craft beer hotspot — North Bar, just a stone's throw from Leeds Grand Theatre. 

Find out more 


Enjoy 15% off all food and drink at authentic Italian wine bar Veeno (Leeds branch only) on presentation of ticket for an Opera North performance. Excludes Fridays and Saturdays after 5.00pm. 

Download Menu | Book a table 

Veritas Ale & Wine Bar

Enjoy a special pre-opera meal at Veritas Ale & Wine Bar. Just a 5-10 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, choose either two courses for £13.95 (£17.50 with a 175ml house wine) or three courses for £15.95 (£19.50 with a 175ml house wine). Available 5.00-6.30pm. Booking is required.

Download Menu | Book via email or call 0113 242 8094 and quote 'pre-opera menu'

Brasserie Blanc

Sample the fabulous pre-theatre menu at Brasserie Blanc and choose from two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £15.45, with a complimentary glass of fizz for Opera North ticket holders. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Leeds Grand Theatre. Available 12.00-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Download Menu | Book online or call 0113 220 6060

The Reliance

Just a 5 minute walk from Leeds Grand Theatre, The Reliance bar and dining room offers a fantastic pre-theatre menu. Choose from two courses for £14.45 or three courses for £18.90. Available 5.30-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.

Download Menu


Find Us

Kingston Square


Find Us

Theatre Square

Important Information

Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Find access details for Nottingham Theatre Royal

By Car

Follow signs for the city centre and the 'Royal Zone'. Nearest car parks are Talbot Street car park and Crowne Plaza Hotel car park on Wollaton Street.
For maps and information about on-street parking, off-street car parks, park and ride and the blue badge scheme please visit Parking In Nottingham

By Bus

For bus times call Nottingham City Transport on 0115 950 6070, Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit www.travelineeastmidlands.co.uk   Find out about our £1 return bus ticket here.

By Tram

 The 'Royal Centre' tram stop is directly outside the venue and runs every 10 minutes until midnight. There are five Park and Ride sites along the route. Visit www.thetram.net or call 0115 942 7777 for full details of the tram route. Find out about our £1 return tram ticket here.

By Rail

Nottingham Station is a 15 minute walk or a short taxi or tram ride from the venue. Call 0845 748 4950 or www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times and fares. 


Discover exciting pre-theatre dining options for Nottingham Theatre Royal


Find Us

100 Grey Street

Important Information

Box office: 08448 112121


Free Parking in all City Council multi-storey carparks after 5pm.

The two closest car parks to Theatre Royal are the Oxford Street multi-storey (just behind the Laing) and the Dean Street multi-storey. Click here for more info.

There are two parking spaces for blue badge holders on Shakespeare Street and three on Hood Street. Most parking meters are free to Blue Badge Holders.


Alight at Monument Metro Station and follow the signs for the Theatre Royal. We are less than one minutes walk from the Metro entrance on Grey Street.

Travel free on the Metro with your theatre ticket (up to two hours before and after the performance) - simply retain your theatre ticket for inspection by Metro Staff.


The Theatre Royal is only ten minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station.

Salford Quays

Find Us

Pier 8
Salford Quays
M50 3AZ

Important Information

Box office: 0843 208 6000 

There is a passenger drop-off point immediately in front of The Lowry. Secure parking is available in The Lowry Outlet Mall multi-storey car park. There are designated areas for disabled parking on every level. 

The Lowry is accessible by train, tram and bus. http://www.tfgm.com/

From national railway stations, Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria you can travel to The Lowry by Metrolink tram. You can board an Eccles line tram and should alight at Harbour City, or Media City UK for trams which stop there, as this is slightly closer.

More info: http://www.thelowry.com/plan-your-visit/getting-here/

What you say

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The Child would rather do anything than his homework, and is told off by his mother for his laziness. Left alone he flies into a rage and assaults everything in his room, including the family’s pet cat. With his school books destroyed, he revels in his naughtiness and his freedom.

But gradually the objects he has attacked – the furniture, the clock, the crockery, the fire, the pictures on the wallpaper, the characters in his storybook – come to life and complain about their treatment. The Child is especially upset that he won’t know now what happens to the Princess in his torn-up storybook. Then up pops the figure of Arithmetic from the pages of his schoolbooks to set him impossibly hard sums. The Child turns to the cat, expecting it to speak to him as well. Instead, it miaows a love duet with its mate in the garden.

Out in the garden it is evening, and the air is full of the sounds of insects, birds and animals. At first the Child is happy to be outside, but soon the trees and the creatures rebuke him for the cruel things he has done to them in the past. Feeling alone and rejected, the Child cries for his mother. The trees and animals gang together and threaten the Child, but they relent when he looks after the wounded paw of a squirrel before tending to his own hurts. Together, they help him by calling out the word that the Child cried earlier – ‘Mother’.