The Little Prince (opera)
The Little Prince, subtitled A Magical Opera, is an opera in two acts by Rachel Portman to an English libretto by Nicholas Wright, based on the 1943 book of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was first performed in Houston, Texas in 2003.
The Little Prince was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera and premiered in May 2003 with Nate Irvin as The Little Prince and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the Pilot. It was then performed by the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Boston Lyric Opera with Jeffrey Walter as the Little Prince. Houston Grand Opera had a return engagement in December 2004 with Jeffrey Walter as the Little Prince and Jeffrey Allison. The University of Kentucky opera (April 2005), The New York City Opera (November 2005), as well as Tulsa Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. The San Francisco Opera and Cal Performances did a joint production in May 2008. Ithaca College Opera also put on a production in February–March 2010.
In the U.K., it was filmed by the BBC following a nationwide talent search for children to play the roles of the Prince, the Rose and a chorus of thirty-six vocalists. Over 25,000 children applied, with over 6,500 taking part in auditions. The television show Blue Peter documented the search for the singers, and filmed their training and rehearsals. The Little Prince was broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday, 27 November 2004 at 7:30 PM.
Charles Ward of the Houston Chronicle termed the production "...attractive--simple, communicative, touching" with the production "...tantalizingly close to a major operatic success." Bernard Holland of the New York Times wrote "Charming as Maria Bjornson's sets and costumes are and as nicely handled as Francesca Zambello's direction is, they depend on Nicholas Wright's inventive rhyming to give them life. Lighting (by Rick Fisher) becomes as important as Rachel Portman's music. It is hard to say whose opera this is; it is perhaps collective: modest parts exceeded by their sum." T.J. Medrek of the Boston Herald found the musical setting of the opera "... full of warmth, wisdom and generous lyric beauty. But the production by director Francesca Zambello and designer Maria Bjornson is so thoroughly enchanting that, given the choice, there's no question that you should opt for the DVD version."
Cast and crew
Please note : these concern the BBC production
The BBC Cast :
- The Little Prince - Joseph McManners (Soprano)
- The Pilot - Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Baritone)
- The Fox - Lesley Garrett (Mezzo-soprano)
- The Rose - Mairead Carlin (Soprano)
- The Water - Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
- The Snake - Tom Randle (Tenor)
- The Lamplighter - Timothy Robinson (Tenor)
- The Businessman - Richard Suart (Baritone)
- The King - Willard White (Baritone)
- The Vain Man - Richard Coxon (Tenor)
- The Drunkard - Aled Jones (Tenor)
- The Children (stars & birds) - Children's choir
The San Francisco Opera Cast:
- The Little Prince- Tovi Wayne/Tyler Polen (Soprano)
- The Pilot - Eugene Brancoveanu (Baritone)
- The Fox - Marie Lenormand (Mezzo-soprano)
- The Rose - Ji Young Yang (Soprano)
- The Water - Tamara Wapinsky (Soprano)
- The Snake - Thomas Glenn (Tenor)
- The Lamplighter - Andrew Bidlack (Tenor)
- The Businessman - Brian Leerhuber (Baritone)
- The King - Kenneth Kellogg (Baritone)
- The Vain Man - Thomas Glenn (Tenor)
- The Drunkard - Andrew Bidlack (Tenor)
- The Children (stars & birds) - Exclusive members of the Concert Group of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and Level IV of the San Francisco Girls Chorus
The Crew :
- Directed by : Francesca Zambello
- Libretto by : Nicholas Wright
- Music by : Rachel Portman
- Costume & Production design : Maria Björnson (original)
- Based on the book by : Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Following the television broadcast, BBC in conjunction with Sony Classical released a double-CD and DVD production of The Little Prince on Monday 29 November 2004. Upon release the CD set entered the classical charts.
- The CD release contains the entire performance on two CDs (Acts 1 & 2), and comes in a fold-out case with the 74-page libretto, containing photographs from the opera and illustrations from the original book. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
- The DVD release includes the full performance as screened on BBC2, plus bonus features of the Blue Peter special, The Little Prince music video and a photograph gallery.
- List of The Little Prince adaptations, a listing of The Little Prince story adapted into various media.
- The Little Prince (1974 film), a 1974 musical film directed by Stanley Donen
- The Little Prince (2015 film), a 2015 computer-animated fantasy film directed by Mark Osborne
- The Little Prince (play), a theatrical adaptation
- The Adventures of The Little Prince (TV series), an anime series
- The Little Prince and the Aviator, a 1981 musical theatre adaptation
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry category listing of articles
- Winn, Steven. "Little Prince' Opera Comes To Berkeley" San Francisco Chronicle. April 27, 2008. p.N–20. Accessed August 4, 2009.
- Consolidated reviews, LittlePrinceOpera.com website, retrieved April 5, 2014, which in turn cites:
- Holland, Bernard. Taking Off on a Wing And a Balancing Act (opera review), The New York Times, June 5, 2003.
- The Little Prince - A Magical Opera - section on the book's official site about the opera
- The Little Prince Opera - the production's site
- Sony Classical US
- The Little Prince Opera at the Internet Movie Database, from Great Performances: Season 33, Episode 14, April 6, 2005
- The Little Prince - CD release (Amazon link)
- The Little Prince - DVD release (Amazon link)
- LittlePrinceOpera.com website