EVEN in this reduced ensemble version by Jonathan Lyness, Ravel’s music exudes out of the instruments, with interesting chromatic perfumes, ticking percussion and wispy rhythms.

For L’heure Espagnole, Mid Wales Opera have created a sort of clock shop, with the looming presence of two wheel like clocks, where lovers can hide if they get caught with the maker’s wife. Story wise, it is not enough to engage in any suspense and some of the humour is fleeting, even with some highly sexualised undertones. The translation from French (also by director Richard Studer) does a marvellous job in keeping some lines in rhyme and some cheeky colloquialisms as well. The singers don’t have much to work with, as the two large wheel clocks are only frequented by the lovers; they also look like a health and safety nightmare.

Catherine Backhouse is Concepcion, the naughty, quick-witted wife and does a great job in keeping all the components of the opera in check, putting other characters in line.

Peter Van Hulle is unrecognisable as Torquemada, the clock maker who is rarely seen, bar a few silly moments in the show. The voice sounds twice his age, perfect for the role.

Matthew Buswell is Gomez, the bloated banker who seems to have a great time in his clock. A robust baritone, leading to a bass in voice, even his jacket is covered in money (a defining marker for every character, with symbols of their profession).

Anthony Flaum is Gonzalve, the plumy poet, who adores Concepcion and hastily writes bad poetry for most of the hour. A swell tenor role, he is perhaps the only one in the cast who could resemble a Spaniard.

Nicholas Morton is Ramiro, the lean, fit donkey boy who assists Concepcion in moving large clocks around the shop and even into her bedroom.

The second part of the show, Y Viva España, was a fleeting section of Spanish and Spanish inspired music. The opening rendition of Ferdinand the Bull was a highlight, featuring Naomi Rump on violin, playing along the recitation with vigour. Ending with the namesake pop song from a few decades ago, this was an infuriating earworm.

By James Ellis.