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The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček

Experience one of most delightful operas telling the warming tale of a mischievous fox.

The score contains some of Janáček's most enchanting music. Dream sequences, the wedding march of the foxes, and the magnificent finale of 'When evening arrives' paint a glorious picture of the countryside Janáček loved so much. 

David Pountney's production echoes this celebration of radiant nature. Sunlight dapples through the woodland trees onto a cartoon-like set of giant flowers and mushrooms where an array of woodland animals come together. It is a pure joy to watch.

"The Cunning Little Vixen is Janáček's joyous cartoon comedy which, at the same time, celebrates the natural cycle of life and death in a blaze of triumphant optimism" David Pountney

A fabulous production full of fun and sensitivity. Sophie Bevan glorious, once again David Poutney is masterful @operaspark #wnovixen

The Whole Story: The Cunning Little Vixen and Lulu

Before the performances begin, our team of experts will guide you through the music, stories and background to each opera.

David Pountney in conversation 

David Pountney explores the Free Spirits theme with a key figure from the arts.

Family Workshop: The Cunning Little Vixen  

Share the magic of the opera with your family at these fun, interactive workshops. 

Act I The Forest. How Bystrouska was caught. Summer

The badger dozes in the heat of the afternoon, pestered by flies. The Dragonfly dances. The Forester pauses for a nap on his way home. While he sleeps, the Cricket and the Caterpillar give a concert. A young Vixen is exploring the forest for the first time. The Forester wakes, and seizes the inexperienced cub.

The yard of the Forester’s cottage. Bystrouska grows up in the Forester’s home. Autumn.

The Vixen endures the morose sexual advances of the Dog, and defends herself vigorously against the baiting of the Forester’s children. She is tied up for her pains.

The Vixens dreams of her sexual awakening and liberation. Outraged by the economic and sexual slavery of the Hens, she becomes a feminist. But the Hens’ conservatism is too much for her, and she systematically kills them all. She confronts the Forester, and escapes.

Act II The Forest. Bystrouska acquires a home.

The refugee Vixen returns to the forest, and ruthlessly evicts the Badger. She settles gratefully into his comfortable home.

The Inn. Winter.

The Forester, full of drink, baits the Schoolmaster about his hopeless passion for Terynka, a gypsy girl. The Parson is pursued by his own sexual guilt and remorse. But the Forester too is susceptible when he is taunted about the Vixen that he lost, and finally rushes out in pursuit of her.

The Forest. Winter.

The Vixen haunts the Schoolmaster and the Parson as they stumble home from the inn. The Schoolmaster mistakes her for Terynka, and is inspired to the single passionate outburst of his life. The Parson recalls his fatal encounter with a seductive young girl in his student days. The Forester wildly hunts the Vixen through the forest. 

The Forest. Spring.

The Vixen finds a mate, and is soon obliged to marry.

Act III The Forest. Bystrouska is killed. Autumn.

The poacher Harasta is going to visit Terynka, whom he is to marry. He finds a dead hare - one of the Vixen’s victims. The Forester warns him to stay off poaching, and sets a trap for the Vixen.

The Vixen and her mate play with their cubs. They find the trap, and ridicule the Forester’s incompetence. Harasta returns to pocket the Hare. The Vixen at first outwits him, but becomes carried away by her exalted defiance of man, and is shot.

The Inn.

The Schoolmaster bitterly regrets his lost opportunity - Terynka is to marry today. The Forester however accepts his growing age, and gladly sets out for a quiet nap in the forest.

The Forest. Summer.

Inspired by the beauty of nature, the Forester’s imagination is awakened for a moment of radiant spiritual perception. He sleeps and dreams of the Vixen. A Frog reminds him of the inevitable cycle of nature.

Conductor Lothar Koenigs (ex 14 & 21 Mar);
Simon Phillippo (14 & 21 Mar)
Director David Pountney
Revival Director and Revival Choreographer Elaine Tyler-Hall
Designer Maria Bjørnson
Lighting Designer Nick Chelton
Original Choreographer Staurt Hopps
Lighting realised on tour by Ian Jones
Chorus Master Stephen Harris
Musical Preparation James Southall
Staff Director Sarah Crisp
Stage Manager Jenni Price
Production Manager Richard Norton

Cast includes
Forester Jonathan Summers
Vixen Sophie Bevan
Mosquito Huw Llewellyn
Forester's Wife Fiona Harrison
Dog Julian Boyce
Cockerel Michael Clifton-Thompson
Chief Hen Meriel Andrew
Badger Laurence Cole
Parson Richard Angas
Schoolmaster Alan Oke
Innkeeper Martin Lloyd
Fox Sarah Castle
Owl Samantha Hay
Jay Anitra Blaxhall
Woodpecker Simon Crosby Buttle
Poacher David Stout
Innkeeper's Wife Jessica Handley Greaves

Dancers
Spirit of the Vixen Naomi Tadevossian
Dragonfly / Dance Captain Connor Dowling
Squirrels Sophia McGregor, Ted Sikstrom

Children
Frantik Sara Jane Waters
Pepik Corey Wickenden
Cricket Emily McConnon
Caterpillar Rowan Clark
Frog Josh Olsen
Foxcubs Jamie Harrowing, Joss Church, Ethan Gauregui, Adam Mulligan, Dylan Mingay, Ffion Kelly, Niamh Bannister, Rhiannon Spannaus, Emily Alford
Young Vixen Maddy Carver
Flies Theo Vine, Declan Ford
Hare Caitlin Parry-Jones / Sarah Staniforth
Hedgehog Georgie Treharne / Sarah Staniforth
Squirrels Cordelia Wickenden, Hattie Harding

All performances start at 7.15pm (except 24 Feb at 4pm) 

Running time approximately 1 hour 55 minutes including one interval 

Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno) 

Co-production with Scottish Opera

We have launched a new style of programme to reflect the company's themed seasons. You can purchase the combined programme for Lulu, The Cunning Little Vixen and Madam Butterfly for £5 on the night, or to pre-order your programme please call 029 2063 5032 at a cost of £6 including p&p.

Why not join in and nominate your own free spirit at http://wnofreespirits.tumblr.com?

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