Tune in to the broadcast of the Houston Grand Opera production of The Little Prince, starring Nathaniel Irvin, Sunday, February 22 at 6 pm CT.
Minnesota Public Radio listeners get a double treat on Sunday February 22 at 6 pm: the first performance of a warmly received new opera—with a Minnesota singer in the title role.
The singer is boy soprano Nathaniel Irvin of Maple Grove, and the opera is a new setting of the beloved fantasy The Little Prince by Antoine de St.-Exupéry.
At age 11, Irvin was already a seasoned performer in the Twin Cities, singing, among other things, the title role in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the James Sewell Ballet and the Minnesota Orchestra. But with The Little Prince, he was placed in the center of a world premiere production by one of America's most acclaimed opera companies, the Houston Grand Opera. On March 12, the opera opens in Milwaukee at the Skylight Opera Theatre.
Houston is particularly noted for innovative commissions of new operas. For this project, the company went to composer Rachel Portman, who had written music for many successful films, including Chocolat and The Cider House Rules, but had not written an opera before.
When it was unveiled, audiences were delighted, and critics praised Portman's score for its melodic appeal and command of vocal writing. Companies across the U. S. and in Europe already have plans for future productions of the opera.
In the live recording, Patrick Summers conducts and Teddy Tahu Rhodes takes the role of the Pilot who encounters the Prince from the tiny planet.