Music: Rachel Portman
Libretto: Nicholas Wright, based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Academy Award-winning English composer Rachel Portman’s magical opera in two acts comes to the Opera Parallèle stage with a twist in collaboration with the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Cowell Theater. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved story of a charming boy who falls from space into the Sahara desert takes on even more universal appeal and a feminist touch with the principal characters played by women and girls. The original production brims with digital magic, animated illustrations, and a cast of fantastical characters including the Prince and the Pilot, stars and birds, the King, a Businessman, the Rose and others. They interact with each other and the animation as they explore the universe in search of love, meaning and the answers to life’s biggest quandaries.
Friday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 2, at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 3, at 2:00 p.m.
Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco
Hannah Gonzales and Erin Enriquez as The LIttle Prince (alternating performances)
Eve Gigliotti (mezzo-soprano) as The Pilot
Kindra Scharich (mezzo-soprano) as The Fox
Sabrina Romero (soprano) as The Rose
Maggie Finnegan (soprano) as The Water
Samuel Faustine (tenor) as The Lamplighter/Drunkard
J. Raymond Meyers (tenor) as The Snake/Vain Man)
Zachary Lenox (baritone) as The Businessman
Kenneth Kellogg (bass-baritone) as The King
Members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus as the chorus of stars and birds
The Pilot explains that, when he was six years old, he saw a picture of a wild beast being eaten by a boa constrictor.
This inspired him to draw a picture of his own, showing the snake digesting its prey. But the grownups he showed it to discouraged him from drawing and told him to concentrate on conventional subjects. Now he is a pilot, flying far above the earth among the stars.
The stars sing to each other, and a group of stars above the Sahara sees a sandstorm forcing the Pilot’s airplane to the ground. The Pilot is reflecting on the danger he is in, when a curious little boy—the Little Prince—appears. He asks the Pilot to draw him a sheep. Intrigued, the Pilot tries to learn more about him.
Gradually, the Little Prince tells his story. He explains that he comes from a tiny planet, Asteroid B-612, which is in danger of being taken over by enormous baobab trees. That is why he wanted a sheep in the first place: he hopes it will eat the baobab sprouts. He is worried, however, that the sheep will also eat flowers, as there is a special flower—a Rose—that the Little Prince wants very much to protect. The Pilot promises to draw a muzzle for the sheep so that it can’t eat the flower.
The Pilot describes the Little Prince nurturing his Rose and waiting for her to come into bloom. When he learns that her greatest fear is of catching a chill, he hastens to find a dome. She rebukes him sharply: placing her under a glass is not the way to please her. She urges him to seek wisdom in the worlds around him, and then return to her.
A flock of birds takes the Little Prince on his journey. He visits the planets of a King, a Vain Man, a Drunkard, a Businessman, and a Lamplighter. The Little Prince is bewildered by the behavior of all these grownups, except the Lamplighter, whom he respects—by tending his lamp, he is doing something useful. The Little Prince thinks anxiously about his beloved flower, whom he has left alone and defenseless. Determined to continue his travels, however, he flies on to the Planet Earth.
The Little Prince arrives on Earth and meets a Snake, who cryptically claims that with one touch, he can send him back to the place from which he came. “I’ll help you find your way back home,” the Snake promises.
The Little Prince continues exploring Earth and finds a rose garden. He is distressed to see so many beautiful flowers, because he thought his Rose was the only one of her kind. Fox hunters appear with their guns. Once they have gone, their quarry comes out of hiding. The Little Prince asks the Fox to play with him. But the Fox refuses, saying, “I’ve not been tamed.” The Little Prince learns what “taming” means. “Tamers care for what they’ve tamed. You’ll always be responsible for your Rose,” the Fox explains. The Prince realizes that his Rose is, after all, unique, because of his love for her.
He has finished recounting his adventures, and the Pilot reminds him that it’s been eight days since his plane crash and they are running out of water. They set off in search of a well, and are refreshed and saved by the water they find. But the Little Prince’s visit to Earth is coming to an end. He tells the Pilot to go back to his plane and return the next night. Filled with dread, the Pilot leaves.
When he comes back, he finds the Little Prince making an agreement with the Snake. The Prince tells the Pilot that it is time for him to return to his planet. He reassures him that he is not about to die, and that his body is just a shell: “Anything essential is invisible to the eye.” The Snake strikes and the Little Prince disappears, leaving the Pilot alone in the desert. The Pilot addresses the audience: “Wait a while beneath a star, and if a child arrives with golden hair, who laughs and disappears, make sure you tell me he’s returned.”
Synopsis courtesy of Houston Grand Opera.
HANNAH GONZALES (SOPRANO): THE LITTLE PRINCE,
ERIN ENRIQUEZ (SOPRANO): THE LITTLE PRINCE,
Mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti has a voice that been described as “spirited, handsome-toned” (Opera News), with a stage presence that is “strong” and “impassioned” (The Washington Post). Quickly becoming known for her diverse stylistic range, Ms. Gigliotti is an exciting young artist who brings rich, resonant sound and a uniquely individual interpretation to her performances. Eve Gigliotti’s 2016-2017 season includes a debut with Hawaii Opera as Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffman, the world premiere of composer Mohammed Fairouz’s new oratorio, Al-Quds: Jerusalem at the Metropolitan Museum, a return to Opera Philadelphia to create the role of Dodo in the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, and she joins the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover the title role in Carmen. Eve Gigliotti is a graduate of The Manhattan School of Music, Mannes, The New School for Music and The Curtis Institute of Music.
KINDRA SCHARICH (MEZZO-SOPRANO): THE FOX, has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “exuberant vitality” and “musical splendor.” As a recitalist, Ms. Scharich has sung for the American Composer’s Forum, the Wagner Society, and Lieder Alive. Recent highlights include Hansel and Zerlina with Opera San Jose, Minerva in West Edge Opera’s Il Ritorno d’ulisse in Patria, and Janis Mattox’s new chamber opera Sueños de Medianoche (Midnight Dreams). Ms. Scharich studied at the Eastman School of Music and at the University of Michigan.
SABRINA ROMERO (SOPRANO): THE ROSE, The Arlington Today Magazine described Sabrina as bringing “music to our ears and our souls.” She has performed with Opera Parallèle, San Francisco Opera’s Education Outreach, Old First Concerts, San Diego Opera, BASOTI, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, CoOPERAtive, and as a soloist with Sing For America. She is also the two-time recipient of Pacific Musical Society’s Lotfi Mansouri Vocal Award. Highlighted roles include: The title role in the world premiere Xochitl and the Flowers, Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore), Sister Catherine (Dead Man Walking), Barbarina and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Claudia Nardi (Nine), and Little Red (Into the Woods). Sabrina holds both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and studies with Jane Randolph.
MAGGIE FINNEGAN (SOPRANO): THE WATER, Hailed by Opera News for her “strong voice and noteworthy acting prowess,” soprano Maggie Finnegan is a 2016 S&R Foundation Washington award winner and made her Kennedy Center debut last season as the First Place and Audience Award winner at the Washington International Competition for Voice. Recent performances include opera premieres with The American Chamber Opera Company, Vital Opera, and the Center for Contemporary Opera, and concert performances with The PyeongChang Winter Music Festival, The City Choir of Washington, New Dominion Chorale, The Camerata Singers of Monterey County, and The Avanti Orchestra. Ms. Finnegan has performed with Paper Mill Playhouse, the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s School Touring Program, The Juventas New Music Ensemble, and Boston Lyric Opera’s Signature Series. She currently splits her time between New York City and Boston, where she shares a home with her partner and three step-kids. Please visit her at www.maggiefinnegansoprano.com.
SAMUEL FAUSTINE (TENOR): THE LAMPLIGHTER/DRUNKARD, a San Francisco native, performs a variety of genres ranging from baroque opera to modern musical theater. Praised for his versatility and his “very sweet voice somewhere between a Broadway tenor and an operatic lyric tenor…” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Sam has recently performed the roles of Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors (Ray of Light Theatre), Curly McLain in Oklahoma (Broadway by the Bay), Fairfax and Candide in Lamplighters Music Theatre’s productions of Yeomen of the Guard and Candide, and The Roasted Swan in Carmina Burana (SJ Sinfonia and Awesöme Orchestra). Sam is an active member of the Bay Area’s choral and sacred music communities, most notably performing with Volti, and Grace Cathedral where he sings counter-tenor in addition to tenor. He received his B.M. at the University of Puget Sound, and his Masters in Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Samuelfaustine.com for more!
J. RAYMOND MEYERS (TENOR): THE SNAKE/VAIN MAN has sung with San Francisco, Portland, Anchorage, Tampa, Grand Rapids, Utah Festival, and Toledo Operas; Opera San Jose, Sacramento Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, the symphony’s of Santa Rosa, Kalamazoo, Silicon Valley, Spokane, Oakland East Bay, and many more. In 2009, he played the opera singer in the movie “Milk.” Some favorite recent roles and performances: Andres in Wozzeck and Howard Boucher in Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle, West Side Story Suite with San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, Seven Deadly Sins and Carmina Burana with Symphony Silicon Valley, the Governor in Candide and Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Marquis/Prince in Lulu and the Rector/Mosquito in The Cunning Little Vixen with West Edge Opera, Canio in I Pagliacci and Hoffman in The Tales of Hoffmann with Pocket Opera.
ZACHARY LENOX (BARITONE): THE BUSINESSMAN, Viewed as “a broad, resonant baritone that is exquisitely controlled throughout his entire range,” Zachary Lenox has performed leading roles across North America. His most recent performance was the role of Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème with Opera Bend. Upcoming performances for Mr. Lenox include Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlando with Ping & Woof Opera, Bass soloist for the Sun River Music Festival’s Mozart Requiem, as well as Victor in Cascadia Concert Opera’s world premier of Tango of the White Gardenia. Zachary’s operatic performances include the roles of Sid in Brittens’ Albert Herring, Melisso in Handel’s Alcina, Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the Count in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Gianni Schicci and Betto in Puccini’s Gianni Schicci, Dancaïre in Bizet’s Carmen, Father in Humperdinck’s Hänsel Und Gretel, Ferrando in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, as well as Professor Bhaer in Adamo’s Little Women.
KENNETH KELLOGG (BASS-BARITONE): THE KING, has quickly gained recognition as a sought-after artist. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., he began formal training at the Duke Ellington School of the Performing and Visual Arts. His many roles are staples of opera repertoire: the title role in Don Giovanni; Leporello and Il Commendatore; Mephistopheles/Faust; Don Alfonso/Cosi fan tutte; Ramfis and Il Re/Aida; Colline/La Bohème; the title role of Hercules; The King/ Ariodante, Osmin/Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Sarastro and the Speaker/Die Zauberflöte, Sparafucile/Rigoletto, Fasolt/Das Rheingold. His European debut was in the role of Sarastro at Opera de Oviedo where he returned to sing the devil himself, Mephistopheles, in Faust. He also sang the same two roles with Opera de Lausanne. He sang the role of Queequeg in the workshop of Moby-Dick at San Francisco Opera. He led the cast in the West Coast premiere of Champion: An Opera in Jazz with Opera Parallele. He has been a guest at the Opera America’s New Works Forum, where he brought to life the character of Sam Bankhead in Dan Sonenberg’s opera, The Summer King, did the world premiere production at Pittsburgh Opera and will reprise the role at Michigan Opera Theatre. He is a frequent collaborator with small companies pushing the boundaries of the Art of Opera and has lent his voice to several voice-over projects. He in an Alumnus of the Adler Fellowship Program at San Francisco Opera and the Domingo-Caftriz Emerging Artist Program at Washington National Opera. He also trained at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Wolf Trap Opera and holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Ohio University.
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Creative Director: Brian Staufenbiel
Illustrations: Matt Kish
Media Design: David Murakami
Costumes: Christine Crook