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Rachel Portman

Publisher: Chester Music

The Little Prince (2003)
Text Writer
Nicholas Wright
St. Rose Music Publishing
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Grand Opera
Year Composed
1 Hour 35 Minutes
20 children
Boy Soprano, 3 Baritones, Bass, Mezzo Soprano, 2 Sopranos, 2 Tenors

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Programme Note
Rachel Portman The Little Prince (2003)
Preview the vocal score below:

  • Soloist(s)
    Joseph McManners / Lesley Garrett / Aled Jones / Willard White
  • Music Sales Group:
  • 19 JAN 2019
    Capitol Theater, Salt Lake City, UT
    Utah Symphony & Opera

    Other Dates:
    27,25,23,21 January - Capitol Theater, Salt Lake City, UT
  • 01 DEC 2017
    Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA
    Opera Parallèle
    Nicole Paiement, conductor

    Other Dates:
    2,3 December - Cowell Theater at Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA
  • 07 APR 2017
    Vilar do Paraíso Music School, Portugal
    Vilar do Paraíso Music School
    Filipe Fonseca, conductor
  • 13 FEB 2015
    Theatro Circo Braga, Portugal
    Conservatorium of Music Calouste Gulbenkian
    Paulo Matos , conductor

    Other Dates:
    14 February - Theatro Circo Braga, Portugal
  • 09 JAN 2015
    Fayetteville, AR
    Opera Fayetteville
    Robert Mueller, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11 January - Fayetteville, AR
  • 20 NOV 2014
    Borusan Culture and Arts
    Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
    Gürer Aykal , conductor
  • 20 NOV 2014
    Istanbul, Turkey
    Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
  • 06 NOV 2014
    Istanbul, Turkey
    Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
  • 09 MAR 2013
    New York, NY
    St. Michael's Choir
    Jonathan De Vries, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10 March - New York, NY
  • 09 MAR 2013
    New York, NY
    St. Michael's Church Choir
    Jonathan De Vries, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10 March - New York, NY
  • 23 FEB 2010
    Ithaca, NY
    Ithaca College Theatre Arts
    Brian Demaris, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24-28 February; 1-5 March - Ithaca, NY
  • 09 JAN 2010
    Weston, VT
    Opera Theatre Weston

    Other Dates:
    15,16 January - Weston, VT
  • 28 FEB 2009
    Foxboro, MA
    Operatunity Performing Arts School

    Other Dates:
    1 March - Foxboro, MA
  • 30 JAN 2009
    Florence, AL
    University of North Alabama

    Other Dates:
    31 January - Florence, AL
  • 23 DEC 2006
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    24 December - Hong Kong
  • 22 SEP 2006
    Tulsa, USA
    Tulsa Opera

    Other Dates:
    23,24 September; 3,7,13,15 October - Tulsa, USA
  • 12 NOV 2005
    New York City Opera

    Other Dates:
    13,15,17-20 November - New York City Opera
  • 04 OCT 2005
  • 01 AUG 2005
    Opera Theatre of Weston, Vermont, USA
    Karen Keltner, conductor

    Other Dates:
    7,8 January 2006 - Opera Theatre of Weston, Vermont, USA

To create an opera based on a work so universally cherished as Antoine de Sant-Exupery's 'The Little Prince' is an act of bold confidence. As evidenced by Sony Classical's release in DVD and CD formats of this children's opera by composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright, this confidence was well placed. For Portman, composing a children's opera was the fulfillment of a dream. With 'The Little Prince' she joins the limited ranks of artists such as Sergei Prokofiev, Walt Disney, Maurice Sendak and Saint-Exupery himself, whose creations ostensibly directed at children resonate with adults as well. Most noted as a film composer (thrise nominated for an Oscar and the recipient of one in 1996 for Emma), Portman successfully spreads her creative wings in a very different direction. Her score is quite charming, accessible and sweet, yet neither pandering nor cloying, ....This is a work that merits unqualified praise. It enhances our understanding of The Little Prince, rather than altering or diminishing it. Whether you prefer to watch the BBC's film of the opera or listen to it on CD and imagine your own, neither version will disappoint you.
Arlo McKinnon, Opera News,01/08/2005
Somebody forgot to tell Boston Lyric Opera, the Wang Center and the opera companies around the country who co-produced "The Little Prince" the do's and don'ts of creating a new opera. How else to explain the joyous effect it made at its East Coast premiere at the Shubert Theatre last night? It was obvious that nobody told Oscar-winning composer (for "Emma") Rachel Portman that music in a new opera should be as dull and "smart"-sounding as possible. Instead of showing off everything she learned in composing school, Portman created a heartfelt musical score that heightens the action, nicely delineates the various characters, offers singers opportunities to shine and, since its premiere in Houston in 2003, has been delighting audiences. ...[Zambello's] staging (realized here mostly by assistant director/choreographer Denni Sayers) combined perfectly with Portman's music to convey the charm, humor and depth of the classic story by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, finely adapted by playwright Nicholas Wright.
T.J. MedrekBos , Boston Herald,17/02/2005
"If you and your children missed Francesca Zambello’s enchanting film of Rachel Portman’s opera The Little Prince—premiered on BBC 2 last night—I doubt you will have more than 54 weeks to wait for a repeat broadcast. Like Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, which The Little Prince recalls in even measure with Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Portman’s opera has the hallmark of an instant Christmas classic. With delicious designs from the late Maria Bjornson—the prettiest I’ve seen since Bergman’s film of Die Zauberflote—and excellent performances from 11 year-old Joseph McManners, 15 year-old Maired Carlin, a 38-strong chorus of children, and operatic luminaries such as Willard White, The Little Prince is a significant addition to the small but crucial canon of children’s operas. Delightful."
Anna Picard, The Independent,28/11/2004
Deftly handled, The Little Prince makes a lovely opera. It might do well on Broadway. ...[the music] is unfailingly graceful and civil, and acutely responsive to the mood of the stage. Like opera at its 16th – century beginnings, Ms. Portman’s work lifts words in the air and carries them along. ...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 ssay whose opera this is; it is perhaps collective: modest parts exceeded by their sum. Ms. Bjornson's stage pictures, nearly finished before her death in December, create fantasy through strong color.
Bernard Holland , The New York Times,05/06/2003
Through a moving, melodic score, Portman portrays Saint-Exupery’s characters with a delicate combination of humour and poignancy. ...a testament to the creative team behind Houston Grand Opera's world premiere of The Little Prince that it was able to craft an enchanting opera that is both faithful to the book and satisfying to child and adult alike.
Stacey Kors , Financial Times,02/06/2003
With the aid of stage director Francesca Zambello, playwright Nicholas Wright and the late designer Maria Bjørnson, [Rachel] Portman has brought The Little Prince tantalizingly close to a major operatic success. Zambello's staging reflected the cunning skill of a director whose work ranges from opera to television to Disneyworld. The music was unrelentingly appealing. Bjørnson's designs repeatedly provoked the child in the overwhelmingly adult audience... Portman’s The Little Prince was unfailingly attractive--simple, communicative, touching.
Charles Ward , Houston Chronicle,01/06/2003
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