& Arts TV; BBC
A new generation
of young performers make their opera debut in Francesca Zambello's spectacular
film of The Little Prince on BBC TWO on 27 November 2004.
Discovered at BBC Talent's nationwide auditions this
summer, 11-year-old Joseph McManners takes the lead role of the Little
Prince and 15-year-old Mairead Carlin plays the Rose.
They join a cast of 35 children alongside Lesley Garrett,
Aled Jones and Willard White in Antoine De SaintExupery's much-loved
story of a little boy's odyssey across the universe and his encounters
along the way with some extraordinary characters.
More than 25,000 children applied to take part in the
Little Prince scheme, with 6,500 hopefuls attending workshops across
the UK and the final 40 attending a residential summer school at Sadlers
Wells where they received expert tuition in vocal training, dance, movement
and theatrical and film techniques.
Sony Music will be releasing a CD and DVD of The Little
Prince on Monday 29 November.
The Little Prince is adapted for opera by Oscar-winning
composer Rachel Portman with Nicholas Wright writing the libretto.
It is a BBC Wales production for BBC TWO.
Lesley Garrett, who plays The Fox, says: "The Little Prince scheme
has brought opera into the lives of thousands of children who would
never have never normally have had any experience of it.
"The talent of these children, the quality and
strength of their performance, is astounding. I hope to hear a lot more
from them in the future."
Angela Wallis, from BBC Talent, says: "Each of
the children selected is an exceptionally gifted performer with that
spark which really makes them stand out.
"We have an amazing mix of children most of whom
have never even come across opera before now."
BBC Talent is the BBC's ongoing campaign to discover
and nurture raw talent.
Details of all schemes can be found on bbc.co.uk/talent.