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Operas for children

Other operas specifically written with children in mind:

Pollicino (Tom Thumb) - Hans Werner Henze

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Cunning Little Vixen (Príhody Lišky Bystroušky) - Leoš Janáček

Noye's Fludde - Benjamin Britten

Griffelkin - Lukas Foss

The Adventures of Pinocchio - Jonathan Dove

L'enfant et les sortilèges (The child and the spells) - Maurice Ravel

Information about the opera L'enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel, and the best recordings available on CD or DVD, or for download.

Ravel's charming opera, based on a libretto by Colette, in which a little boy's tantrum causes all the objects in his room to come to life.


The story unfolds in an old-fashioned French country house. A child, scolded by his mother, goes to his room and throws a tantrum during which he destroys many of his toys and other objects, which then come to life and challenge him.

Later, the boy tries to befriend animals and plants from his garden, which reject him because he had previously tortured or destroyed them. When a squirrel is hurt, the boy puts a bandage on him and the other animals relent. At the end of the opera, the boy, duly chastened, greets his approaching mother with the sole word "Maman!".

Recommended recordings on CD

Rattle/Massis/Erdmann (EMI Classics 2 264 197-2)

264 197-2

A superb new recording of this charming work, recorded in concert at the Berlin Philharmonie in 2008.

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunkchor Berlin, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, 2008.

Cast: Annick Massis (Child), Mojca Erdmann (Mother).

EMI Classics 2 264 197-2

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Maag/Luchini/Macaux (Arts Music 43039-2)


A good performance recorded live at the Radio Concert hall, Rome, in 1963.

Coro di Voci Bianchi "Magnificat", Coro RAI di Roma, Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, conducted by Peter Maag, 1963.

Cast: Andrée Aubery Luchini (Child), Geneviève Macaux (Mother).

Arts Music 43039-2

Buy on CD:

Previn/Stephen/Owens (Deutsche Grammophon 457 589-2)

457 589-2

A fine performance, emphasising the wittiness of the opera.

New London Children's Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn, 1997.

Cast: Pamela Helen Stephen (Child), Anne-Marie Owens (Mother).

Deutsche Grammophon 457 589-2