The Little Prince

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The Little Prince is a touching, French children’s fable which earnestly explores the themes of love and loneliness. The tale revolves around the unusual adventures of a pilot whose plane crashes in the Sahara Desert which is where he befriends a young blond boy who appears there and claims to be a prince from another planet. Ironically, the story was first published in 1943 by Antoine de Saint Exupery, just a year before his own Lockheed vanished during a flight over the Mediterranean.

In the book, while the aviator attempts to repair his aircraft and the prince plans to return home, the pair learn some heartwarming lessons about what is truly most important in life. Along the way, we meet a coterie of colorful characters such as a snake, a fox, a flock of birds, a rose, a king, a very vain man, a drunk, a businessman and a lamplighter. Today, this much-beloved classic has been faithfully adapted as an opera by Rachel Portman, who was the first female composer ever to win an Oscar (for Emma). She has about 70 soundtracks on her resume’ including scores for Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, Nicholas Nickleby and Beloved.

Delightfully directed by Sarah Meyers, this English language musical version of The Little Prince is currently running at the New York City Opera.  Relying on magical sets certain to hold young and old alike in its thrall, the production does more than justice to its source material.

Furthermore, it features a very talented opera company, all blessed with gifted voices plus the acting ability to animate the engaging plotline effectively. Among the standouts at the showing attended by this critic were young Jeffrey Allison and Daryl Rothman, kids making their New York debuts as the Prince and the Rose, respectfully. Equally impressive were relative veterans Andrew Dros as the Drunkard and the Lamplighter, and Robert Mack, the sole African-American among the principal cast of eight, as the Snake and the Vain Man.

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