Front Row Reviewers: Utah Opera’s The Little Prince in Salt Lake City Makes Our Hearts See Like Never Before
As you walk downtown in Salt Lake City to Utah Opera‘s Capitol Theatre, trees sparkling with lights guide your way to the magic that awaits you at The Little Prince. Based on the novella of the same name by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this opera transports you to other worlds through the eyes of The Pilot (Jared Bybee) who sees differently after spending time with the Little Prince, played pluckily and sweetly by Nitai “Ty” Fluchel. Author de Saint-Exupéry wrote the book in his native French while living in New York during World War II. He gave the manuscript to journalist Sylvia Hamilton Reinhardt, a friend of his, before he left to fight the war as a reconnaissance pilot. She had it published, and it quickly became popular and influential worldwide.
When the Houston Opera commissioned Academy Award-winning Rachel Portman to compose an opera, she decided to use The Little Prince as her inspiration and outline. Portman wanted an opera specifically composed for children, but the story of the Prince, the Pilot, the Fox and others resonates with all ages. The opera’s performance is less than two hours long: enough time to capture children’s attention and allow them the adventure of seeing the world like the Little Prince, but also short enough to allow them to return to the important work of play. Portman composes an incredible score that the Utah Symphonyplays beautifully under the direction of Maestro James Lowe. The music is soothing, playful, and warm. It’s what I think innocence and wonder would sound like.