L'enfant et les sortilèges: Fantaisie lyrique en deux parties (The Child and the Spells: A Lyric Fantasy in Two Parts) is an opera by Maurice Ravel with a libretto by Colette. It is the second Ravel opera, the first being L'heure espagnole. Written from 1917 to 1925, the opera was first performed in Monte Carlo in 1925 under the baton of Victor de Sabata.
After being offered the opportunity to write a musical work, Colette wrote the text in eight days. Several composers were proposed to Colette to write the music, but she only was enthused with the prospect of Ravel.
Set in an old-fashioned Normandy country home, L'enfant tells the story of a rude child who is reprimanded by the objects in his room which he has been destroying. After being scolded by his mother in the beginning of the opera, the child throws a tantrum destroying the room around him. He's then surprised to find that the unhappy objects in his room come to life. The furniture and decorations begin to talk; even his homework takes shape as it becomes an old man and a chorus of numbers. In the second part, the bedroom becomes a garden filled with singing animals and plants which have been tortured by the child as well. Finally the child learns his lesson.
The opera calls for a large orchestra, a chorus of adults, a chorus of children and eight soloists most of whom play a number of characters. The scale of the cast and fantastic setting make the opera often difficult to stage which may explain why the work is not performed often. Ravel uses various subtle leitmotifs throughout the work. The melodies were emphasized with the orchestra being consider secondary by Ravel, who said this was modelled after Gershwin and American operettas of the time. Still, the composition doesn't avoid virtuosity in the instrumental writing. Ravel contrasted the work to his previous opera, L’heure espagnole:
The opera was initially well received in Monte Carlo, but in a Paris showing the following year it was less successful. André Messager criticized the purposely imitative nature of the music, but Francis Poulenc and Les Six were impressed. His cat screech duet "Duo miaulé" is often seen as a parody of Wagner which was quite controversial, however Arthur Honegger praised this piece in particular. 
During World War I, the Opéra de Paris director Jacques Rouché asked Colette to provide the text for a fairy ballet. Colette originally wrote the story under the title Divertissements pour ma fille. After Colette chose Ravel to set the text to music, a copy was sent to him during the time he was serving in the war in 1916; however, the mailed script was lost. In 1917, Ravel finally had received a copy and agreed to complete the score, humorously replying to Collette, "I would like to compose this, but I have no daughter." Due to contractual obligations, Ravel finally was compelled to complete the work by 1924. Colette, believing that the work would never be complete, later expressed her extreme pleasure that the work was done, believing that her modest writing had been raised beyond its initial scope. Now officially under the title of L'enfant et les sortilèges, the first performance took place March 21, 1925 in Monte Carlo as conducted by Victor de Sabata with ballet sequences choreographed by George Balanchine. Ravel said of the premiere production: