December 20, 2018
Utah Opera Presents New Production of Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright's "The Little Prince," January 19-27
Rendering by set and costume designer Jacob A. Climer.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (December 20, 2018) – In January 2019, Utah Opera unveils its new production of composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright’s “The Little Prince” (2003), an operatic adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s novella published 75 years ago. Directed by Tara Faircloth and designed by Jacob A. Climer, the new production features sets and costumes constructed by the Utah Opera Production Studios, whose productions are widely staged by companies around the United States. The design is inspired by the real-life context in which Saint-Exupéry wrote his masterwork: upper-class WWII-era Long Island. The opera will be performed at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on January 19 and 25 at 7:30 PM, January 21 and 23 at 7 PM, and January 27 at 2 PM.

Tickets priced $29-108 ($15 for students) are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 533-6683.

Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth says:

"I’m such a personal fan of this opera, a beautiful combination of Saint-Exupéry’s treasured story and celebrated film composer Rachel Portman’s colorful musical language. As part of Utah Opera’s commitment to presenting something annually as a full-family experience, this opera is—in a word—perfect. Our creative team has designed and developed a brand new production truly worthy of this moving and imaginative night of music and theater. In addition, with the involvement of The Madeleine Choir School, I am confident this will be the finest presentation of this opera ever. One can expect to be completely enchanted by this delightful and uplifting opera in Utah Opera’s new production."

Baritone Jared Bybee sings the role of the stranded pilot who encounters a curious young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The role of the prince is sung by Nitai Fluchel, an 11-year-old student at the Roman Catholic, Salt Lake City-based Madeleine Choir School. This choir school in the European tradition offers a liberal arts education alongside rigorous musical training, and as part of its collaboration with Utah Opera in presenting “The Little Prince,” choristers from the school also constitute the opera chorus.

The orchestra, comprising musicians of the Utah Symphony, is led by conductor James Lowe, who previously conducted “The Little Prince” at Washington National Opera. He has also conducted at Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera, among other companies.

Ms. Faircloth, whose directing credits include two world premieres for Houston Grand Opera, says:

“Our production features a book-lined library with a period writing desk that the pilot returns to again and again as he struggles to help us understand his story. It is a shell of a world that never really disappears. The desert is a landscape of discarded book pages populated with figures both realistic and fantastical, reflecting actual characters that Saint-Exupéry may have known. The large children’s chorus are actively involved throughout, both as rapt listeners and as creators of the magical world conjured by the pilot’s words.”

Set elements and scene transitions between the plot’s several worlds have been designed by Mr. Climer to mimic the rotation of the planets. The designer is based in Brooklyn, NY, and his work has been seen at Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Public Theater, among other stages nationwide.

Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and regularly partners with Utah Symphony and other organizations for special presentations. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary American opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson’s “Dreamkeepers” and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “The Grapes of Wrath” in 2007, presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s “The Long Walk” in 2016, the creation of a new production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Moby-Dick” in 2018 that featured a versatile set designed to adapt to a wide range of theater stages, and an all-new production of Rachel Porter and Nicholas Wright’s “The Little Prince,” premiering on the Capitol Theatre stage in January 2019.

Utah Opera operates a full production studios where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 81,000 students each year free of charge through the organization’s education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera’s productions since the company’s founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.

Utah Opera’s current Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition. For more information, visit

British composer Rachel Portman became the first female composer to win an Academy Award, which she received for the score of Emma. She was also the first female composer to win a Primetime Emmy Award, which she received for the film Bessie. She has received two further Academy Nominations for The Cider House Rules and Chocolat, which also earned her a Golden Globe Nomination. She has written stage and concert works, among them commissions from the BBC Proms and Houston Grand Opera. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010 and is an honorary fellow of Worcester College, Oxford. To learn more, visit

Nicholas Wright is a British dramatist born in South Africa whose work encompasses original dramas (Mrs. Klein, 1988; Vincent in Brixton, 2003), adaptations (the play Lulu, 2001), and opera libretti (The Little Prince, 2003; Marnie, 2018). He trained as an actor and joined London’s Royal Court Theatre as Casting Director before becoming the first Director of the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, where he presented an influential program of new and first-time writing. From 1975 to 1977 he was joint Artistic Director of the Royal Court. He joined the National Theatre in 1984 as Literary Manager and was an Associate Director of the National until 1998.


Little Prince Costume Sponsorship
Utah Opera is offering the opportunity to sponsor one of eight original costumes for “The Little Prince” designed by Jacob A. Climer and created by the artisans of Utah Opera’s in house costume shop. Among other rare experiences, sponsors will receive their name sewn into the costume, leaving a legacy on the production as it travels around the country for performances in other opera houses; behind-the-scenes photos of the sponsored costume during the building process; a one-on-one backstage experience with the costume. Sponsorship levels start at $2,000. For more information on how to leave a legacy on this glorious production, please contact Olivia Custodio at ocustodio@usuo.orgor 801-869-9028.

Learn Before You Go
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "learn before you go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials for “The Little Prince” were created by Ross Hagen, who is an assistant professor in Music Studies and the Music General Education coordinator at Utah Valley University. They are available online at

Opera-tunities Night
Students in grades 7 through 12 are invited to attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal on Thursday, January 17 at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night." Public/charter school students and their accompanying teachers can attend for free, and private/home schooled students and accompanying teachers pay just $5 per person. Visit for more information, or call 801-533-6683.

Red Carpet Event
Opening night on January 19 will feature a red carpet event where patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants the chance to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Opera Prelude Lecture
Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre one hour before curtain for each performance. Public school teachers can earn re-licensure points for attending the lecture and opera performance. See

Q&A Session
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre.

The Utah Opera Season Sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

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Utah Opera presents
“The Little Prince”

By Rachel Portman (composer) and Nicholas Wright (librettist)
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101)

January 19 & 25 | 7:30 PM
January 21 & 23 | 7 PM
January 27 | 2 PM 

Based upon the original book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
First performed at the Houston Grand Opera in 2003
Utah Opera Premiere
Sung in English with English supertitles

Little Prince: Nitai Fluchel*
The Pilot: Jared Bybee
The Fox: Melanie Ashkar**
The Rose: Grace Kahl**
The Water: Melissa Heath
The Snake / Vain Man: Joshua Lindsay
Lamplighter / Drunkard: Addison Marlor**
Businessman: Jesús Vicente Murillo**
The King: Tyrell Wilde

Conductor: James Lowe
Stage Director: Tara Faircloth
Assistant Director: Emilio Casillo

Children’s Chorus Director: Melanie Malinka
Assistant Conductor: Michaella Calzaretta
Set and Costume Design: Jacob A. Climer
Lighting Design: Mark Stanley

Makeup Design: Kate Casalino
Principal Coach: Carol Anderson

Assistant Coach: Robert Bosworth
Stage Manager: Amber Lewandowski
Assistant Stage Manager: Annie Brantley

Supertitle Musician: Chad DeMaris

*Chorister of The Madeleine Choir School
**Utah Opera Resident Artists

Choristers of The Madeline Choir School
Musical preparation of Children’s Choir: Melanie Malinka, Director of Music, The Madeleine Choir School

Aaron Burris
Aidan Slade Conboy
Curtis Coudreaut
Franco Foster
Emmy Gilbert 
William Glenn
Emma Humiston
Lorraine Hyngstrom
Liam Khor-Brogan
Roisin Khor-Brogan 
Sam Klemesrud
Oliver Laughlin
Sam Macklyn
Claire Sophie Malinka-Thompson
Sophie Mokhiber
Thomas Morelli
Helena Nordhoff
Georgia Ohman 
Max Ray
Frances Reed
Henry Ryan
Lucy Starks
Abbey Trewitt
Marlo Trewitt

Tickets priced $29-108 ($15 for students) are available for purchase through or by calling (801) 533-6683.

# # #

Press contacts:

Shuman Associates | (212) 315-1300

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Renée Huang | Director of Public Relations | (801) 869-9027

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