Le Petit Prince


Year 2016
Produced and Commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada
Choreography Guillaume Côté
Music Kevin Lau
Set and Costume Design Michael Levine
Lighting Design David Finn
Video Design Finn Ross
Creative Concept Guillaume Côté and Michael Levie
Orchestration 2+picc.2+eh.2+bcl.2+cbsn/ perc/hp/pno/high voice/strings
Duration 90 minutes

Audio Excerpts (MP3)


  • June 4-12, 2016 - National Ballet of Canada. Four Seasons for the Performing Arts, Toronto


  • "Composer Kevin Lau’s music [for the opening of the ballet] is fierce, pounding, ominous, and dissonant in ways that evoke and perhaps even quote the opening passages of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. [Eventually] Lau’s music shifts from the strident phrasings of the opening scene to melodic passages that are beautiful, moody, and melancholic...The musical accompaniment of the ballet’s final scenes also includes some of Lau’s finest writing; lush but subdued orchestral passages are interrupted by drifting phrasings on piano that are intimate, lyrical, and inward. One can almost hear the murmur of Saint-Exupéry’s lines, which form a coda that is both sad and triumphal: 'And no one will ever understand how such a thing could be so important!'" - Daniel Baird, The Walrus

  • "From the pit comes ninety minutes of powerful original music by Toronto composer Kevin Lau. To introduce each character, he weaves through different musical styles, at times evoking the rich tonality of Sergei Prokofiev, pastorale woodwind themes of Aaron Copland, brassy celebrations à la John Williams, and moments that can only be described as distinctly Lau. He uses cinematic textures and dramatic bursts of energy like a fine film composer, yet employs returning thematic narrative elements like in the great ballet scores of the past." - Michael Morreale, The Dance Current

  • "Lau’s gorgeous orchestral score is the final piece of the puzzle, like the choreography, bringing contemporary daring to a distinctly classical palette." - Kelly Bedard, My Entertainment World

  • "Kevin Lau’s score, commissioned expressly for this work, steps away from the classical sounds associated with ballet. The use of piano and live voice evocatively match the choreography, reinforcing certain feelings like the mysteriousness of The Garden of Roses as the dancers eerily bourrée off stage, hair long and dishevelled, dresses billowing against the sparse, otherworldly sounds of the orchestra." - Grace Smith, The Dance Current

  • "If [choreographer Guillaume Côté] portends a bright future for Toronto ballet choreography, Kevin Lau represents the same for music for the stage. The composer has a lot of experience for someone still in his 30s, much of it in the writing of music for film. This experience shows in an uncanny ability to evoke mood with a few, simple musical strokes. [The score] more than succeeds as a beguiling vehicle for Côté’s story. The orchestration is colourful, deftly interweaving textures and changing shapes – even if, at times, big crescendo passages are not paralleled by an equivalent increase in drama on the stage." - John Terauds, Musical Toronto

  • "[The ballet's] balance of spectacular choreography and soul-driven music complemented by the innovative set supports a new kind of storytelling in ballet that appeals to a broad audience." - Liz Ostil, The Dance Current

  • "The music sounded like a symphony that could stand alone yet...it was woven tightly into the entire work as if the movement and music were destined for one another, like Le Petit Prince and his rose." - Leah Klein, Leah's Life

  • "Replete with powerful brass and lyrical violin solos, [Lau's] tuneful score gave the entire production a potent musical underpinning." - Oksana Khadarina, DanceTabs

  • "With impassioned dancing by a cast of almost 30, a monumentally impressive set by Michael Levine, video contributions by Finn Ross and a bold, brassy, sometimes Prokofiev-channeling orchestral score by Kevin Lau, Côté’s new ballet packs quite a wallop, more than enough to bring an enthusiastic Saturday opening night audience to its feet." - Michael Crabb, The Toronto Star


  • "The Prince We Do Not See" - MacLean's

  • "Le Petit Prince is 'make or break' for dancer-turned-choreographer Guillaume Côté" - CBC

  • "Original music the other ingredient of Le Petit Prince" - Toronto Star


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