Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Walnut Hill’s Voice Department presented an original film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved classic The Little Prince.  Debuting May 22 on YouTube, “The Little Prince, a Magical Opera” showcased all 14 voice majors, recording independently on campus and around the globe.

Knowing how quickly and openly our students adapt to new learning techniques and ways of presenting their art, Head of VoiceTeresa Winner Blume and Voice Faculty Elaine Smith-Purcell, leaned into this incredible technological opportunity to explore a variety of modes of vocal storytelling. Rather than fighting against the reality of being on screen throughout the year, they chose to highlight technology as a central theme in this year’s opera.

Unlike any opera performed live on campus, this performance was designed specifically as a movie version of the opera. It was reduced in time from two hours to just 45 minutes, and conveys the entire story of the Prince’s journey and the lessons he encounters in life and love. Students brought this tale to life in a musical, fantastical world, created through the magic of green screens, animations, and film effects editing.

Ms. Blume and Writing, Film, and Media Arts (WFMA) Student Director Lisa Krestianinova '23 managed on campus actors in front of green screens, while remote students filmed in their homes in front of green screens with direction over Zoom. Visual Art major Simone Gardner '21 contributed a fully animated scene, and WFMA major Kiha Ahn '23 assisted with film editing and created artistic 3D backgrounds.

All voice majors rehearsed and recorded individually along with a customized piano track, and the final compilation came together digitally. Using GarageBand, Ms. Smith-Purcell tweaked each recording for tempo and key, ensuring that the final tracks sound as if everyone was recording together, in the same room.

We hope you view the opera on our YouTube channel. We also featured a behind-the-scenes look at the opera’s creation during our Spring Crush Arts Celebration Series. Students talk about filming in their homes, with their parents behind the cameras!

Congratulations to all of the faculty, staff, students and actors (and helpers at home) who made this virtual opera a success!

Voice Majors who participated listed below.

Katherine Clifford '22, Sam D'Amico '22, Shuyi (Sophia) Fang '22, Yuhe (Olivia) Gan '22, Kate Li '23, Marley Matejka '24, Riley Musi '23, Ravi Nguyen '23, Ava Paul '21, Alexandra Poliakoff '21,  Marian Rookey '21, Fangzhen (Angelina) Wang '22, Clark Xiong '23,  Eddie Zhou '24

Director: Teresa Winner Blume, Head of Voice

Music Director: Elaine Smith-Purcell


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