Utah Opera Stage New Production of Rachel Portman & Nicholas Wright's THE LITTLE PRINCE
In January 2019, Utah Opera unveils its new production of composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright's "The Little Prince" (2003), an operatic adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic children's novella published 75 years ago. Directed by Tara Faircloth and designed by Jacob A. Climer, the new production features sets and costumes constructed by the Utah Opera Production Studios, whose productions are widely staged by companies around the United States. The design is inspired by the real-life context in which Saint-Exupéry wrote his masterwork: upper-class WWII-era Long Island. The opera will be performed at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on January 19 and 25 at 7:30 PM, January 21 and 23 at 7 PM, and January 27 at 2 PM.
Tickets priced $29-108 ($15 for students) are available for purchase through utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth says:
"I'm such a personal fan of this opera, a beautiful combination of Saint-Exupéry's treasured story and celebrated film composer Rachel Portman's colorful musical language. As part of Utah Opera's commitment to presenting something annually as a full-family experience, this opera is-in a word-perfect. Our creative team has designed and developed a brand new production truly worthy of this moving and imaginative night of music and theater. In addition, with the involvement of The Madeleine Choir School, I am confident this will be the finest presentation of this opera ever. One can expect to be completely enchanted by this delightful and uplifting opera in Utah Opera's new production."
Baritone Jared Bybee sings the role of the stranded pilot who encounters a curious young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The role of the prince is sung by Nitai Fluchel, an 11-year-old student at the Roman Catholic, Salt Lake City-based Madeleine Choir School. This choir school in the European tradition offers a liberal arts education alongside rigorous musical training, and as part of its collaboration with Utah Opera in presenting "The Little Prince," choristers from the school also constitute the opera chorus.
The orchestra, comprising musicians of the Utah Symphony, is led by conductor James Lowe, who previously conducted "The Little Prince" at Washington National Opera. He has also conducted at Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera, among other companies.
Ms. Faircloth, whose directing credits include two world premieres for Houston Grand Opera, says:
"Our production features a book-lined library with a period writing desk that the pilot returns to again and again as he struggles to help us understand his story. It is a shell of a world that never really disappears. The desert is a landscape of discarded book pages populated with figures both realistic and fantastical, reflecting actual characters that Saint-Exupéry may have known. The large children's chorus are actively involved throughout, both as rapt listeners and as creators of the magical world conjured by the pilot's words."
Set elements and scene transitions between the plot's several worlds have been designed by Mr. Climer to mimic the rotation of the planets. The designer is based in Brooklyn, NY, and his work has been seen at Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New York Theatre Workshop, and The Public Theater, among other stages nationwide.