The first stage adaptation of The Little Prince dates back to 1963, and was directed by Raymond Jérôme at the Théâtre des Mathurins in Paris. Since then, there have been literally hundreds of stage adaptations of the book, for everything from school plays to amateur dramatics and professional theatre companies.
Some of the adaptations have run for years while other French productions have travelled as far as Japan, the Americas the Arab world and Africa. To mark the 60th anniversary of the French edition, Virgil Tanase staged a new adaptation at the Théâtre Michel in Paris, which is still playing both in France and abroad.
From musicals (like the one staged in 2001 in Paris by Richard Cocciante, or those produced in Korea, Hong Kong and the USA), to operas (The Little Prince by Rachel Portman, Der Kleine Prinz by Nikolaus Schapfl) and ballets (Le Petit Prince, choreography by Katarina Stojkov-Slijepcevic to a score composed by Aleksandra Ðokic), The Little Prince has delighted audiences on every continent.
The Opera of Rachel Portman
The Little Prince as seen by Sonia Petrovna
And one of the best adaptation of The Little Prince, directed by Stepahne Pezerat.
Born in 1945 in Galatzi, Romania. Graduate of the Bucharest Faculty of Humanities, the Bucharest Institute of Theatre and Film and then of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes de Paris, he wrote his doctoral thesis on the semiology of directing, under the supervision of Roland Barthes.
Between 1977 and 1993, he was a journalist writing for Actuel, Médias, l’Economie, Vendredi, a radio journalist on Radio Free Europe and a mission head in the « Drama » section of France Culture. Virgil Tanase has been the director of the Romanian Cultural Centre in Paris since 2001.
Honoured as an Officier des Arts et des Lettres, winner of the Romanian Academy’s prize for literature, he has published some ten novels, including: « Portrait d’homme à la faux dans un paysage marin » (Flammarion, 1976), « Le bal de la goélette du pirate aveugle » (Gallimard, 1987) and « Zoïa (Allfa 2001). He is perhaps best known for his writing and directing for the stage, with plays such as « Le Paradis à l’amiable » or « A Noël après la Révolution ». He has also adapted works by Balzac, Louise Labé, Chekhov or even Flaubert for the stage.
He has worked as a director in Romania, at the Bucharest National Theatre in particular, and in France (Théâtre Renaud-Barrault, Théâtre de l’Odéon…). In 2001, Virgil Tanase took on the considerable responsibility of adapting « The Little Prince » for the stage. After a rewriting of the story (the aviator suffers inwardly from a disappointment in love) and a reorganisation of the little prince’s encounters, the play was staged at the Théâtre Michel, and then transferred to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
Richard Cocciante was born on 20 February 1946 in Saigon, to an Italian father and a French mother. He learned to play piano and was as passionate about classical music as he was about the blues and the Beatles. During the 1970s, he made a number of albums that won him a wide audience. « Margherita » was a big hit with the French public in 1978. Since then, his songs have been sung in Italian, French, English and Spanish.
Richard Cocciante worked with Luc Plamondon on the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s « Les Misérables ». « Notre-Dame-de-Paris » was a huge success in France and abroad. In 2002, at the Casino de Paris, Richard Cocciante and Elisabeth Anaïs staged « Le Petit Prince », a musical starring Daniel Lavoie as the aviator and Jeff, a 13 year-old star in the making, as the little prince.
Rachel Portman, a native of Surrey (UK), began composing at the age of 13. As a student, she wrote scores for the plays and films produced by her fellow students. After completing her studies, she pursued her career in cinema, working with film and television directors such as Mike Leigh and Jim Henson.
In 1999, Rachel Portman won the Young Composer of the Year award and began working in the United States. She composed the original soundtrack for a number of hit films including « Used People » (1992) by BeeBan Kidron, « The Road to Wellville » (1994) by Alan Parker, « The Legend of Bagger Vance » (2000) by Robert Redford and « Mona Lisa Smile » (2003) by Mike Newell.
« The Little Prince » (2003) is the first opera composed by Rachel Portman, a specialist in « narrative melodies ».
Nikolaus Schapfl was born in 1963 in Munich. At the age of 14, he composed his first score and a few years later he was giving amateur piano concerts. He studied engineering in Munich while at the same time studying composition, and continued his musical studies at the Conservatoire in Nuremberg and then in Salzburg, where he won the 1996 Mozarteum Prize, and later at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. He now pursues a career as a pianist and composer, and his music enjoys international recognition.
At the age of six, Nikolaus Schapfl was given a copy of « The Little Prince » by his uncle. Without as yet understanding the complexity of the book, he was already won over by the rose. He came across the book again ten years later, when he was learning French. The idea of turning it into an opera came to him in 1990. He began pencilling in the first arias, certain that Saint-Exupéry’s characters had the dramatic depth necessary to be set to music. The opera of « Der Kleine Prinz » premiered in Salzburg in 1998, followed by a series of concerts in Agay, at the Prinzregententheater in Munich and at the Bluenbach Castle in Salzburg. Schapfl’s opera was performed at the Karlsruhe State Theatre on 25 March 2006, before an audience of 2,500, as a fully-staged production directed by Peer Boysen, to mark the 60th anniversary of the publication of « Le Petit Prince » in France.