NEMPAC Opera Project Presents ‘The Little Prince’ in Boston’s Faneuil Hall to Standing Ovations
“An incredible experience which restored faith in humanity for a couple of magical hours. Congratulations to everyone involved. It was amazing.” —Richard Guerin, Salem Classical and Recording Manager to Philip Glass
“The work everyone did to make “The Little Prince” such a delightful night was incredible! Beautiful singing, playing, and acting by all. Bravi tutti!” —Susannah Thornton, Managing Director, Boston Opera Collaborative
“Hearing a Rachel Portman score performed live is a rarity; in front of me, it’s a revelation. What a god damned delight.” —Scott Hanson, Salem Classical
“High quality productions with a sophisticated level of artistry, along with the promotion of inclusivity and accessibility, make NEMPAC Opera an organization to pay attention to, not just in Boston, but within the opera community at large.” —Kelley Hollis, Soprano, Juventas New Music Ensemble
“Every year I think.. how can they beat it and you always do.” —Paula Warchol, Field Marketing Manager, VP at TD Bank, sponsor of NEMPAC Opera Project
“ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The performance was brilliant – great singers, excellent orchestra – well presented. …Very happy to have heard this work.” —Margaret McAllister, Composer Member and Co-President of Composers in Red Sneakers
These were just a few of the remarks overheard and shared about the NEMPAC Opera Project’s opening night for Rachel Portman’s operatic setting of the classic French novella, “The Little Prince”, on June 20th and June 22nd at The Great Hall in Boston’s Faneuil Hall. The North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) showcased the opera production—their 8th opera season’s mainstage production—in The Great Hall at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall. No sooner had the final chord been struck in the Act 2 Finale, then the audience was on their feet cheering a magical evening of lustrous singing, elegant music, hilarious dances, and heartbreaking acting from the multi-generational cast. This also marked the first collaboration between VOICES Boston and NEMPAC which produced a choir of 11 talented and gifted young performers to narrate the opera.
The heart of the story is the unlikely bond between a young Prince traveling to Earth from their home Asteroid and a Pilot who has crash-landed into the African desert and is in dire need of water, complete with a fantastic red airplane as part of the set. Along the way, we are introduced to characters inhabiting traits which the Little Prince finds abhorrent: absolute power, vanity, addiction, and materialistic values. We are also met by characters who show the Little Prince the value in friendship, life, and love all costumed in brilliant colors. Hummable melodies and the simplicity of the message “eyes are blind, look only with the heart” reminds us of the neglected child inside each of us and how the things that matter in life can only be seen with our hearts.
“‘The Little Prince’ was the perfect opera and vehicle to feature our young, up and coming singers in prominent roles alongside established professionals,” said Alexandra Dietrich, NEMPAC Opera Project’s Artistic Director. “It’s an opera for both adults and children that reminds one of how to love, how to laugh, and how to let go. The simplicity of landing this message can only be placed in the trust of a child to deliver and we lucked out with two young performers, Clare and Linus, who performed and gifted to the audience that message beautifully.” Ms. Dietrich’s announcement that NEMPAC was thrilled to be performing an opera by a female composer for the first time in their history was met with an eruption of spontaneous applause from the enthusiastic opening night audience.
Nationally, NEMPAC Opera Project received recognition by OperaWire as one of the Top 5 Operas to see in North America during its opening weekend alongside New York City Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In Boston, “The Little Prince” was chosen as a Top Ticket Pick by the Boston Globe. Lee Eiseman of the Boston Musical Intelligencer declared that opening night displayed “first-rate singing and orchestra playing…the best opera orchestra I have heard in a non-conservatory community company…Conductor Tiffany Chang encouraged her 21 players to color with distinction and to underscore Portman’s characterizations seamlessly…let it be noted that upon disembarking, the passengers cheered the great flight.” Arturo Fernandez of Schmopera went on to expound that “it is all in the performances given, and in many ways everyone involved were rather excellent.”
NEMPAC Opera Project’s 2019 production was stage directed by Artistic Director Alexandra Dietrich with Dr. Tiffany Chang music directing and conducting. The cast of professional singers included Christina English of the Lorelei Ensemble as The Pilot, Jennifer Caraluzzi as The Water, Carley DeFranco as The Rose, Josh Dixon as the Geographer, Fran Daniel Laucerica as The Snake and The Vainman, Gray Leiper as The Businessman, Ehimemen Omigie as The Lamplighter and The Drunkard, Roselin Osser as The Fox, Marcus Schenck as The King, and Luisamaria Hernandez, Patricia Kopko, and Jessica Trainor Tasucu as trio of Common Roses.
This moving performance also included youth cast members Linus Schafer Goulthorpe as the Prince on Thursday and Clare Cho as the Prince on Saturday, as well as the NEMPAC Opera Youth Choir, a collaboration of young singers from NEMPAC and VOICES Boston, which featured Suvi Carlile, Emeliz Espinal, Lucía Gonzalez Fayos, Erin Han, Georgina Harington, Lillian Kuklewicz, Sophia Lyons, Elizabeth Mann, Samantha Markey, Zoe Nazarchuk, and Phoebe Niese.
Co-Presented by NorthEndBoston.com and Arthur and Andrew Waldstein, “The Little Prince” production was possible thanks to the support of sponsors including TD Bank, Berkshire Bank, Brookline Bank, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Friends of the Christopher Columbus Park, The City of Boston, and Boston Cultural Council.
Photography by Sabrina Ornae.
To learn more about our 2019-2020 season, please visit www.nempacboston.org/nempac-opera-project.