NEMPAC Opera Project 2019 Production
Mark your calendars—2019 productions of NEMPAC’s Opera Project are slated for:
June 20, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. | Opening Night Reception at Union Oyster House
June 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. | Great Hall at Faneuil Hall
June 22, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. | Great Hall at Faneuil Hall
June 16, 2019 at 4 p.m. | A Celebration of Eight Years of the NEMPAC Opera Project at Christopher Columbus Park
Throughout this year’s production, artists of all ages will enact the compelling narrative of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” Opera by Rachel Portman. While watching “The Little Prince” unfold, audience members will be captivated by the simple yet profound truth this play honors about the meaning of life, the meaning of death, and the thread of love that weaves these two experiences into the quilted pattern of human experience.
At the beginning of “The Little Prince,” the Pilot encounters the Little Prince, a youngster who finds himself a universe away from the asteroid where he was raised. As the Pilot learns about the formative experiences the Little Prince endured as the boy journeyed to Earth, the two form a cherished bond. As the two meet and form friendships with several other characters—including a Fox and a Snake—the Prince comes to the conclusion that he must venture back to his asteroid in the name of love.
“The Pilot must learn that what can be seen as loss and death is just a doorway to a transformation beyond our corporeal, Earthly world. To paraphrase a NEMPAC student of mine from several years ago, the ones we lose are never really gone because they live in our hearts,” said Alexandra Dietrich, artistic and stage director of NEMPAC Opera Project, as she described the overarching themes of the production.
If you’re seeking an opportunity to press the metaphorical pause button in your life and reflect upon how you spend your time and who you spend your time with, look no further than in the narrative expressed through “The Little Prince.” In fact, when you attend the production, be prepared for its poignant depiction of timeless human experiences to uplift not only your passions for music and the performing arts, but also your hearts.
“On the surface, it may seem like a children’s story, but at its core is a lesson on love, loss, and healing. We are asked by the Little Prince to peel back the years of what we prioritize in our adult day to day lives to remember what is important in life: the people we love,” added Dietrich.
In addition to a healthy dose of inspiration, this year’s production features NEMPAC’s mission on full display. It has been said before, and it will be said again. But it’s worth repeating right now—NEMPAC flourishes at the intersection of professional performance and music education. This seamless integration will be evident like never before during the 2019 Opera Project.
“Essentially, the story doesn’t happen without the voices of children, which I love. The Little Prince is a lead role played by a treble voiced performer – this means that they have to sing in a soprano range. They are also onstage almost the entire 90 minute opera – a big responsibility for any performer. If the opera were the book coming to life, then the youth choir are both the actual pages of the book itself and the speed that you turn them to find out what happens next,” Dietrich explained.
Highly-trained professionals as well as youth artists will collaborate to bring Dietrich’s artistic vision of “The Little Prince” to life. This synergy between professionals and youth artists provides proven benefits to both parties.
“My goal is that not only will our young performers be inspired by working with and alongside professional singers, instrumentalists, actors, artists, and crew, but that our professionals will be reinvigorated by the spark of creation that comes from the energy of their young cast mates. The professional music world can often distance a performer, as it is their profession, from why they originally loved music. Our youth performers, at the beginning of their own musical journeys, are just discovering what a life in the arts can unleash creativity-wise,” Dietrich remarked.
Dietrich’s choice of Rachel Portman’s production is also significant.
“Portman is known for her incredible canon of film scores, and her setting of this novel is done in a vivid, imaginative, and very tuneful manner. The opera sounds to me as though each illustration had its own melody – that’s how perfectly she captured the narrative and heart of each character. In our previous seven seasons, we have featured works by male composers, and this is the first time we are championing the work of a female composer. Perhaps the next great composer lives in the North End, and just having this form of representation matters in order to break down the walls that block gender parity in the composition world,” said Dietrich.
Dietrich brings extensive experience, as well as a distinct teaching philosophy to her role as artistic and stage director. Her inclusive leadership will ensure a wildly successful production for all.
“As a director of any sort, I begin each morning with a humble affirmation that I am a student and I am a teacher. I come with my plan of how to accomplish goals by enabling all to learn and discover on their own with guidance instead of demanding in an authoritative way the outcome that I want. It’s the process and the “a-ha” moment for each performer that adds to the unique, live performance that occurs in any given rehearsal or performance. In integrating education and performance, I believe that they never should have been separated in the first place! We can’t put on an opera if no one knows how to or why they should listen to an opera, and you can’t produce a work of this magnitude without performers who have trained extensively for it,” Dietrich reflected.
What aspect of the production are you most looking forward to as the 2019 NEMPAC Opera Project approaches?
To learn more about NEMPAC Opera Project 2019 Production, please visit: https://nempacboston.org/nempac-opera-project/.