I very much enjoyed this selection of five short operas staged at Glyndebourne. My favourite is 'Higglety Pigglety Pop!', in which three of the actors are dressed up as animals: a Sealyham terrier, a pig and a cat and there's also a housemaid and a lion. The music for this opera and also for 'Where the Wild Things Are' was composed by Oliver Knussen who also conducts the London Sinfonietta for both operas. When watching these works I wondered if children would enjoy them as much as I did. They certainly took me back to my childhood and made me very happy. It's interesting to note that, in real life, cats wail and dogs howl and bark. Pigs have the better of them both in that they grunt and squeal in the most delightfully musical fashion, which is why I stopped eating these intelligent animals a long time ago.
On the second disc both 'L'enfant et les Sortileges and L'Heure Espanole by Ravel made fascinating watching and listening. Although it was well produced and performed I wasn't quite so keen on 'The Love of Three Oranges' by Prokofiev, which always seems to me to be a rather 'over the top' kind of opera, in which everything is done rather too well. This may sound strange and not over clear, but I don't know how else to put it. Happily, other viewers will think differently.
On the whole both sound and picture quality are good, especially the sound quality. Filled with imagination, these works are well geared to delight and inspire discerning children and other viewers and listeners. Best of all, they are the kind of entertainment that can be watched and listened to over and over again without ever tiring of them.