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Improvisation at The Cathedral

Thomas Ospital, artist in residence at St. Louis Cathedral

Published in 1943, two years before the end of WWII, The Little Prince, a favorite of children and adults alike, has never lost its popularity. Its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, one of Europe’s earliest and most devoted aviators and a hero of the French Army Air Force, used his daring experiences flying his open cockpit biplane through swirling desert sandstorms as the basis for his storytelling.

The Little Prince is the story of an aviator forced to land in the Sahara Desert, where he meets a young prince from another universe who has traveled to Earth to seek answers to his many questions. This classic novella, a touching account of the importance of love to life, will receive an unusual and quite different “reading” in New Orleans when it is presented in St. Louis Cathedral as an improvised symphonic poem for organist, narrator and soprano.

On Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m., Thomas Ospital, the 23-year-old brilliant French organist and the cathedral’s young artist-in-residence, will demonstrate the unique French tradition of musical improvisation as the story is read.

Le Petit Prince was chosen because of its universal appreciation of mankind, but also because it has a special relation to children, especially the wisdom of children,” explains Alfred Lemmon, Director of the Williams Research Center of the Historic New Orleans Collection, himself an accomplished organist.

The family-friendly performance, presented with support from the Consulate General of France, will feature narration by New Orleans attorney and actress Janet Daley Duval with vocal accompaniment by Tulane University Music Department faculty member Amy Pfrimmer, well-known for her vocal appearances with symphony orchestras and opera companies across America.

The Little Prince: an Improvised Symphonic Poem

  • What: An improvised symphonic “poem” for organist, narrator and soprano based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
  • Where: St. Louis Cathedral
  • When: Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
  • Admission: Free

Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.



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