Opera Parallèle began a holiday tradition last year, with a production of Rachel Portman’s opera The Little Prince, in a new staging – it’s back this weekend at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco. Artistic Director Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel say the allegorical tale is a family-friendly story for the season.
There’s more information about the performances at the Opera Parallèle website.
“We thought, well let’s do it again, let’s continue the tradition of trying to be part of the holiday festivities somehow,” says Nicole Paiement, “And we felt that the opera was such a success that it was nice to just bring it back.” The look of the production is not based on the original St. Exupery illustrations, but rather a new interpretation of them, Brian Staufenbiel explains. “I asked the wonderful artist, illustrator Matt Kish to reimagine The Little Prince. And what we did with those beautiful pieces of art that he reimagined is we deconstructed them and animated them. It’s beautifully laid out with animation, and there’s dancing, and singing. We have the San Francisco Girls Chorus with us, there are baobabs, there are hunters, there’s a fox, it’s a wonderful piece.” He says one of the beauties of the work is that it works simultaneously on multiple levels. “It was written during World War II, so he – a lot of the things he was writing about were reactions to fascism and war; mostly metaphorically, so children don’t even have to get it if they’re younger, but the adults certainly do. And so that’s what makes it really a great piece for all ages.” Paiement says the overarching themes are timeless, and also timely. “The idea of exploration, the enlightenment of exploration, the idea of the danger of narrow-mindedness… Basically ‘what is true love’ is very much part of the theme of this opera, which I think falls very beautifully right now… with any season of the year, but definitely when we embrace this holiday season.”