The Princess and the Pea

Victorian Opera The Princess and the Pea - photo by Charlie KinrossBursting with colour and plenty of humour, Victorian Opera will delight children and families with the Australian premiere of Ernst Toch’s musical retelling of The Princess and the Pea at Arts Centre Melbourne for three performances only on Saturday 25 March 2017.

The classic fairytale is transported to a modern day television studio on the set of a hit show. In this heightened world of fame and fortune, our ‘Princess’ is an ingenue actress. Working as a production hand, she is thrown into a leading role and must prove herself to her famous colleagues and one particular cast mate, her ‘Prince’.

The Princess and the Pea is directed by Libby Hill, following her adored productions of Cinderella, Alice’s Adventures in Operaland, and Hansel and Gretel. Hill is assisted by Victorian Opera Developing Artist, Alastair Clark in his first production with the Company. Fabian Russell conducts a live chamber orchestra.

The producti0n is designed by Victorian Opera Developing Artist Candice MacAllister. The 22-year-old graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts made her professional debut with Victorian Opera in 2016, designing the company’s family and education productions of Cinderella and The Pied Piper. Her approach to the production draws inspiration from classic cartoons.

Composer Ernst Toch’s operatic of this treasured tale was written in 1927; this is the first Australian production and will be sung in German with English narration and scene descriptors. It stars the country’s leading singers including former Victorian Opera Developing Artist Olivia Cranwell as The Princess, and acclaimed tenor, James Egglestone as The Prince.

The family opera production continues Victorian Opera’s presenting partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne, and marks the Company’s ongoing commitment to staging children’s work, introducing many young people to the world of opera.

Hans Christian Andersen was born in Denmark in 1805. His father died when he was eleven and in 1819 he moved to the Danish capital city of Copenhagen looking for work in acting, dancing and singing. After seeing his work some benefactors decided to send him to boarding school. This was not a pleasant experience for him so the same benefactors instead funded a private tutor.

He graduated from university where writing became his vocation. After some critical success as a writer he received a grant from the King which allowed him to travel through Europe. He started writing fairy tales in his thirties and as a result of these stories, his success and fame spread rapidly throughout Europe and beyond.

Andersen wrote The Princess and the Pea in 1835. His fairy tales contained elements of his own life within them, for example The Match Girl is reminiscent of his early poverty. Although it is his fairy tales for which he is famous, he also wrote for adults, writing novels, plays, poetry, and travel books. He died in Copenhagen in 1875.

Director: Libby Hill Featuring: Olivia Cranwell, James Egglestone, Jerzy Kozlowski, Michael Lampard, Michael Petruccelli, Kathryn Radcliffe, Dimity Shepherd, Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra Conductor: Fabian Russell Set & Costume Design: Candice MacAllister Lighting Design: Peter Darby

The Princess and the Pea
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performances: Saturday 25 March 2017 – 11.00am, 2.00pm and 5.00pm

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Olivia Cranwell features in The Princess and the Pea – photo by Charlie Kinross