A MULTIDIMENSIONAL BALLET
A classical ballet is accompanied by music of large universal value, danced on the height of the pointe, with neoclassical elements, where the real world interacts with the world of fantasy. The symbolism, the philosophical allegory, the hidden satire between the lines of a world renowned tale are suggested to the public through a rich choreography and emphasized through multidimensional effects brought by the scenography. Creating the show, the concepteur first imagined the scenography and the colors and textures of the costumes, to then “invade” the picture with the strength of the choreography. This approach, which is unusual in the world of ballet designing, was inspired by the great importance Saint Exupery gave to the illustration of his artwork, who himself created his particular language alternating between pictures and textual story.
The challenge of expressing the beauty of Saint Exupéry’s great masterpiece through the language of classical ballet, whilst preserving the natural naivety and wisdom found in the tale, was given to French choreographer and ex soloist at Béjart Ballet François Mauduit. His talent, his sensitivity for classical dance and for French literature, as well as his love for the artwork of Saint-Exupery is all together a guarantee for the public to live a unique experience for children as much as for adults. “All grown-ups were children first. (But few remember it)” St Exupéry..
THE MUSIC AND ANTOINE DE ST EXUPERY
The idea of creating a ballet with the music which was enjoyed by, listened by and even played by Saint Exupéry is an attempt to transmit the richness of his feelings to the audience, giving strength to the show whilst preserving the unique way the main character apprehends the universe, this Exupérian way of looking at things from a child’s or an adult’s point of view “when he was a little boy”.
Since a young age, Antoine Saint-Exupéry was surrounded by music. His entire family was initiated onto classical music and to opera. Some of them were even dedicated professionals, such as his great grandfather, Master of the Aix in Provence chapel. His grandfather taught him music theory while he learnt to play the violin. As well as enjoying singing with his sisters, while being directed by his mother. Throughout his stay in the United States during the Second World War, just at the time of writing The Little Prince, he was seduced by the popular music of the times, such as jazz. However, despite the curiosity he held for this new music genre from America, Exupery remained loyal to his musical education, and thus, always had a weakness for classical music from the XVIIIth Century. He particularly enjoyed composers such as Mozart, Handel and Bach. Then, when he began playing the piano, he found a passion for composers such as Debussy, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Massenet, Faure, Ravel and Gluck.
SCENOGRAPHY AND COSTUMES TAKEN OUT
OF A BOX OF AQUARELLE
A glimmering ballet, light and full of flow, where the images, the décor, the costumes were all imagined in aquarelle, as found in Saint Exupéry’s original drawings. The author decided to illustrate his tale himself, as he wasn’t convinced of his friend’s Bernard Lamotte too elaborate drawings. His original images were included in the ballet, as well as those found in the book published by Gallimard and the original manuscripts of The Little Prince, which were not published in the final version. Thanks to the intricate lighting patterns on the texture of the costumes, sewn with fluid and bright materials with delicate Swarovski elements, the colors are “touched” by the light of the moon, emphasizing the melancholy, the beauty and the romanticism and the magic that reign upon the stage.
The classical ballet integrated the technology of 3D images and the theatre of shadows for greater visual effect, which helps transmit the depth of the spectacle. The show's multidimensional scengraphy creates a visual richness, which helps transmit the depth of Exupérian allegories of the main characters' dreams and memories. For major effect, real pictures of the universe, photographed by NASA are prominently featured, bringing the naive and imagination-full aquarelle world of the Little Prince inside our vast and empirically real Universe. The images of sunsets are very present in this oeuvre, as Saint Exupéry himself saw many of them in loneliness during his time in America, where he wrote The Little Prince.
© Boris Conte Photography