Utah Arts Review: Utah Opera’s “The Little Prince” is captivating, well-cast magic for all ages

by Edward Reichel

The Little Prince made its Utah Opera debut to boisterous acclaim Saturday at the Capitol Theatre for what proved to be a superb adaptation of a literary classic. Composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright have taken the much-loved children’s novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and transformed it into an opera with universal appeal.

At first glance, the story of a young prince visiting Earth from a distant planet seems simple and fanciful — a child’s tale. But the work has much deeper meaning as it explores how differently children and adults perceive the world. Saint-Exupéry wanted adults to take life less seriously and to honor the power of their own childhood imaginations by not stifling their children’s creativity and thirst for learning.

And right from the start Saturday, this opera enveloped the audience and brought them into its unique world, while also encouraging patrons to wonder: Did this story really take place, or was it all in the author’s head? The question remains cleverly and enchantingly open in this updated production of the 2003 original that premiered in Houston.

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