The University of Northern Colorado’s Opera Theatre recently presented Malcom Williamson’s “The Happy Prince” and Rachel Portman’s “The Little Prince,” opening on Oct. 13. The performances featured impressive sets, decorated with blush pigments that mimicked poignant love and dedication.
Compassion and corrosion fueled “The Happy Prince” with a combined sympathetic tenderness, which the prince and swallow directly conveyed to the audience. The story quickly unfolded and as the nature of the swallow and prince weakened, the townspeople became increasingly pulsating, stealing away the concentration from the title characters.
In relation to the prince, this was accomplished through stripping away the gold and jewels that covered his armor, overbearing pieces that held the audience’s courtesy. The swallow completes a relevant deconstruction but in a far more dreadful demeanor. The townsfolk tear away her glorious feathers even as she attempts to bring their means of liberation to the town.
The swallow delivers a greater meaning, illustrating loudly how dedication and loyalty can bring a greater love to society. She stands for not only a martyr but also a symbol of how love is the greatest virtue.
“The Little Prince,” in a similar context, presented an appreciation of themes relating to those of “The Happy Prince.” Racheal Portman produced a dazzling production that recreated one of the most celebrated stories of all time. In the story, the title character, a pilot, staged a poignant pose of everlasting loneliness and heartache. In difference, the little prince was charmingly abstruse and open to interpretation.
The second production highlighted two sets. Although the foreground was rather simple in terms of ornamentation, the background was justified by a mysterious dark and gloomy feel that contained eccentric pigments. Towards the pivotal point of the play the audience saw a street light in contrast with a full moon. The simple setting somehow took a monstrous form that sucked the viewers in with ease. It seemed there wasn’t a single thing in that room any audience member cared about accept to watch what the actors were going to do next.
For both shows, UNC’s casts demonstrated the time and effort it took to relive these classical stories. Although each actor provided a professional and vibrant experience, it was the Little Prince, Hailey Ewing, who stood out from the rest. Her sweet and loving tone combined with the natural lushness of her voice was truly a pleasure to hear.
As the final set ended and the actors walked out to the front of the stage, the spirit of their presence finally made the audience come back to reality.