Great Performances: Season 33, Episode 14

The Little Prince (6 Apr. 2005)

TV Episode  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music
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In an opera version of the famous literature classic, during World War I, an airplane pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara Desert, where he has a very unusual near-death experience.



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Title: The Little Prince (06 Apr 2005)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Teddy Tahu Rhodes ...
Joseph McManners ...
Mairead Carlin ...
Willard White ...
The King (as Sir Willard White)
Lesley Garrett ...
Tom Randle ...
Timothy Robinson ...
The Lamplighter
Richard Coxon ...
The Vain Man
Richard Suart ...
The Businessman
Aled Jones ...
The Drunkard
Gweneth-Ann Jeffers ...
The Water
Mary Hegarty ...
Helen Williams ...
Lise Christensen ...
Robert Burt ...


In an opera version of the famous literature classic, during World War I, an airplane pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara Desert, where he has a very unusual near-death experience.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

6 April 2005 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Version of Le petit prince (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Glorious!!! An Astonishing Achievement!
28 April 2005 | by (Portland, Maine) – See all my reviews

Words failed me watching this "children's opera." This is an inspired and astoundingly profound work - not necessarily just for children. Faithfully based on the classic French children's tale, Rachel Portman has crafted what feels - and sounds - like a dream come to life. Musically, the score is firmly based in mid to late 20th century "classical" music (indeed, portions sound as though they could have been penned by Benjamin Britten), yet remain highly accessible to the casual listener. Portman's score is clear and concise emphasizing the text through the narratives which link the various scenes together. This leaves one unprepared for the experience of being hit full on with some truly remarkable choral music that creates the aural illusion of expanding into space - a truly remarkable experience

While the opera sounds and feels good - delightful even - all the way through, its final 20-30 minutes - beginning with the Pilot's carrying the Prince through the night in the desert in search of a well - have magic writ on every page. One cannot help but feel the influence of Janacek and the "nature" music of his operas.

The cast is inspired with Australian baritone Teddy Tahu-Rhodes as the Pilot in an ever blooming voice that captures the tale's narrative with a wistful, dreamlike quality. He is, in a single word: sensational.

As the Prince, Joseph McManners escapes the cloying saccharine too easily on display in talented children - his unaffected, natural ease made me assume the role had been written for him. Like Saint-Exupery's "Petit Prince" McManners understands this role and the music and like Saint-Exupery's original "Petit Prince" exudes a sweet mixture of melancholy, naiveté and wisdom that makes this character so special.

Leslie Garrett, the inestimable Willard White, Tom Randle and Tom Robinson (with exquisite music as the Lamplighter) all contribute beautifully and fit into Francesca Zambello's unique vision of this most beautiful of children's stories.

A most remarkable work that should be enjoyed by children and adults alike

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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