COMPOSER Rachel Portman has been Hollywood A-list ever since becoming the first female composer to win the Academy Award (Best Original Score, Emma). . . .
Portman's sound signature is an opulent, melodic romanticism and lush orchestration, as in her score for Roman Polanski's Oliver, and such other titles as Cider House Rules (Oscar and Grammy nominations), Chocolat (Oscar and Golden Globe nominations) . . .
Discovering a dearth of meaningful live theater for children, Portman, who has three daughters, determined to help remedy that herself. She settled upon The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's universally cherished story about a guileless boy who falls from space into the middle of the Sahara Desert. To orient herself to her task in the new medium, Portman turned not to the vast library of operatic literature but to the Moroccan desert, "to hear the sound of the sand." The tiny caravan traveled atop camels, Portman now calls, "Very lovely . . . Actually most uncomfortable, and endless. Wretched, really . . ."