Media inquiries for the November 2018 US Premiere performances

For press release please click here, or contact JC Agid, at Thirty Seven East

press [at] 917.349.8361

    What is Mostel's Travels of Babar?

Raphael Mostel's Travels of Babar is a new composition based on the classic book and art of the same name by Jean de Brunhoff, Le Voyage de Babar. The Nov. 2 & 3, 2018 performances at Florence Gould Hall presented by Source Music, Inc. with funding from The Florence Gould Foundation will be the U.S. premiere of the full new production, complete, as it was first presented in sold-out performances in Berlin by the Berliner Philharmoniker, where it was greeted with "shouts of joy." Together with the prior, non-HD production, Mostel's Babar has already been presented over 60 times internationally, in five languages so far


    Is Mostel's Travels of Babar a concert or a show?

In addition to composing one "scene" for each illustration of Jean de Brunhoff's book — 46 in all — the composer has also created an elaborate one-of-a-kind production around his score, including a complex slideshow with the original illustrations. Although Mostel's Babar can also be presented as a concert-work as Peter and the Wolf is, these Source Music, Inc. performances of Raphael Mostel's Travels of Babar will be the U.S. premiere of the much-acclaimed full new multi-media production, complete. The full multi-media production includes live performance of Mostel's music plus theatrical lighting and complex slideshow along with a reading of de Brunhoff's text. The effect of the elaborate slideshow — in coordination with the narrator and live musicians onstage and theatrical lighting — was compared to witnessing a film being edited in real time. The New York Times went so far to underline the one-of-a-kind nature of Mostel's full multi-media production as to describe this non-singing show as "a new kind of digital video opera". Noted author Phyllis Rose has newly translated the original text into English especially for Mostel's work and will be used in the November 3rd performance. The performance on November 2nd will use Jean de Brunhoff's original French text.

     What is the length of Mostel's Travels of Babar?

When performed complete, The Travels of Babar is a full hour in length, without intermission. However, if desired, Mostel's Babar can also be divided into two separate, self-contained, independently performable works: Babar's Honeymoon and Babar's Return to the Land of the Elephants.

     What is the instrumentation that Source Music, Inc. is using in this full production?

Source Music, Inc. is using Mostel's original scoring for eight musicians that represent an orchestra in miniature: two winds (clarinet/bass clarinet, bassoon), two brass (cornet, trombone/bass trombone), two strings (viola, 'cello), plus piano/celesta and percussion. This is the version the Berliner Philharmoniker chose for their world premiere of the new production.

     Is there a difference between the original version for eight musicians and the new version for orchestra?

Yes. Although the music of both versions is almost all essentially identical, the octet version is more intimate and transparent in ways that especially suit the full production together with the theatrical lighting and the slideshow. Orchestras may find it more practical to present either the Honeymoon or the Return To The Land of the Elephants. The world premiere of the orchestral version of the Return was presented by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Excerpts of the Honeymoon were performed by the New York Philharmonic. The US premiere of the orchestral version of the Return will be presented by the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on April 7, 2019)

     What is the difference between the new production and the prior production?

The elaborate new slideshow is now in HD and 16:9 ratio, so the composer obtained high-resolution scans of Jean de Brunhoff's glorious original watercolors of the famous images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Morgan Library and several private collectors. The complex slideshow is now at such high-resolution, there are many details that have not been seen before in the artwork. Brief clips from archival performances with the prior, non-HD production presented by Source Music, Inc. can be seen here

    What is the difference between Raphael Mostel's Babar and Francis Poulenc's Babar?

In 1940, French Poulenc set Jean de Brunhoff's first book, L'histoire de Babar — which is about the childhood and adolescence of Babar, culminating with his marriage to Celeste. In contrast, Mostel's Babar uses Jean de Brunhoff's second book — generally considered the masterpiece of the series — which picks up the story when Babar and Celeste go off in a balloon on their honeymoon. When the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal gave the world premiere of the new version for full orchestra of Mostel's work, they took advantage of the continuity by performing both Poulenc's and Mostel's Babars on the same program.


    Is Mostel's Babar related to the films and television shows with Babar characters?

No, the films and television series are the products of Corus Entertainment, Nelvana and The Clifford Ross Company. Raphael Mostel's Travels of Babar is a completely independent work, with all necessary permissions world-wide and in any language, as is the production he has created around it.

    How did this project start?

Mr. S.T. Semba commissioned the music originally to accompany a Japanese CD release of a reading of text. Source Music, Inc. produced the recording for the Japanese CD release with the composer conducting. The original commission did not include performance rights, which were obtained separately by the composer. In fact, the first performance in the original French was presented by Source Music, Inc. with Laurent de Brunhoff (Jean de Brunhoff's eldest son) narrating — as can be seen in the opening clip of video excerpts from the run of performances of the prior, non-HD production in three languages presented by Source Music, Inc.


    Does Mostel's Travels of Babar use the Random House book edition of The Travels of Babar?

No, Mostel uses the original Le Voyage de Babar of Jean de Brunhoff. The performances in English will use the new, updated translation created especially for Raphael Mostel's work by noted author Phyllis Rose. Rose also happens to be the wife of Laurent de Brunhoff. Both she and the now-93-year-young Laurent de Brunhoff are planning to attend the French-language performance Friday November 2nd, 2018 at 7 PM

   How do I purchase tickets for the US Premiere performances of the full new production of The Travels of Babar complete on Nov. 2 & 3, 2018?

Either go in person to the box office of Florence Gould Hall, 55 E. 59 St. NYC, or click here for direct link to TICKETMASTER

    Media inquiries for the November, 2018 US Premiere performances

For press release please click here. Or contact JC Agid, at Thirty Seven East press [at] 917.349.8361