L’heure Espagnole

Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)

FRI 19 MAR

The Story

Torquemada owns a clock shop in the centre of town. His wife, Concepción, looks forward to Thursday afternoons, when Torquemada is out checking and winding the municipal clocks. She spends this precious time with her young lover, Gonsalve.

On this particular Thursday, Concepción’s hours of illicit pleasure is complicated by the presence of a delivery man, Ramiro, who is waiting to have his watch (an heirloom) fixed. She is further frustrated when Gonsalve shows more interest in making poetry than making love. Vexing her still more is the arrival of influential banker, Don Iñigo, who got her husband the municipal clock role in order that he might seduce Concepción.

A comédie musicale in one act

Sung in French with English surtitles

Music: Maurice Ravel

Libretto: Franc-Nohain, based on his 1904 play

First performance: 19 May 1911, Opéra-Comique, Paris

In the end, it is the innocent bystander, Ramiro, who proves to be the solution to Concepción’s problems.

The five pronounce the moral of this episode which, they say, comes from Boccaccio:

Among all lovers, it’s only the effective one who really counts
So there comes a time in the course of love
When even the mule-driver has his turn.

Cast

TORQUEMADA, a clockmaker ∙ JEFFREY LLOYD ROBERTS

CONCEPCIÓN, Torquemada’s wife ∙ CATHERINE BACKHOUSE

GONZALVE, a young poet ∙ ELGAN LLŶR THOMAS

RAMIRO, a delivery man ∙ ROSS RAMGOBIN

DON IÑIGO GOMEZ, a banker ∙ ASHLEY RICHES

DIRECTOR ∙ STEPHEN MEDCALF

SOUND ∙ TOM MARSHALL

PIANO ∙ CHRIS HOPKINS

BRASS ∙ OGNUNE LIVELY

PERCUSSION ∙ TOM MARSHALL

FRENCH COACH ∙ BEATRICE LUPTON

VIDEO PRODUCTION ∙ DANIEL ZAFER

EDITOR ∙ BEN WILLIS