Leoš Janáček

The Cunning Little Vixen

14 September - 19 September
Screenings from the 2012 Festival

This is perhaps the only opera to be inspired by a newspaper cartoon strip. Every morning, Janáček would catch up with the latest exploits of the mischievous vixen Bystrouška. He became such a dedicated follower of her adventres that he responded with an outpouring of music, rich in both humour and humanity, which evokes the wooded rolling hills of the composer’s homeland of Moravia. 

Janáček’s vision immeasurably deepens the comic strip’s depiction of rural life. The Vixen encounters humans, of whom she learns to be extremely wary. She ignores the well-meant advice of a mournful dog and does exactly what you might expect when she is confronted by a bunch of hysterical chickens. She cheekily evicts a badger from his home and settles in herself. Eventually, she falls in love with a handsome fox and marries him. 

All around her the life of the forest continues on its inevitable cycle. And the Gamekeeper, growing wiser as he grows older, sees it all. 

Lucy Crowe will make her role debut as the Vixen, with Emma Bell in the role of the Fox. Leading the forces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra will be Music Director Vladimir Jurowski and, returning to Glyndebourne for the first time since her haunting production of Dvořák’s Rusalka, will be director Melly Still.

Rated four stars by the The Daily Telegraph.

Rated four stars by The Independent.

Rated four stars by the London Evening Standard.

'Colourful and joyous' says the Wall Street Journal.

Read a three-way interview with Melly Still, Emma Bell and Lucy Crowe in the Guardian.

Read an interview with Lucy Crowe in The Daily Telegraph.

A new production for the 2012 Festival

Sung in Czech with English supertitles

Revised version by Jiří Zahrádka by arrangement with Universal Edition A.G. Wien.

Listen to The Cunning Little Vixen podcast (15 mins)

Presenter Peggy Reynolds explores some of the themes and stories behind Leoš Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen. With Gavin Plumley, Julian Johnson and Melly Still, Director of the 2012 Glyndebourne production. (Producer: Mair Bosworth)

Download this podcast (right click and select 'Save file as')

The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček

This performance is captured live

We want to share our work with as many people as possible. Broadcasts have been part of the Glyndebourne story since the 1930s, and in 2007 we were the first opera house in the UK to screen performances into cinemas.

As well as The Cunning Little Vixen, two other productions are being screened in cinemas.

Picture House

Act 1

On a summer’s afternoon in the forest, Blue Dragonflies dance around the Badger’s sett. The Forester, made sleepy by the heat and his search for poachers, has a doze. Insects and small animals are at play. The young Vixen scares the Frog, who jumps onto the Forester’s nose. Waking, he grabs the Vixen and decides to take her home to amuse the children.

In the courtyard of the Forester’s lodge, his Dog sidles up to the Vixen with amorous intent, but he gets short shrift. Two boys torment her, so she bites them. The Forester is forced to tie her up. She falls asleep and dreams of herself as a young girl. At dawn, the Cock starts lording it over his hens. The Vixen urges them to free themselves of his domination. To lead them on, she plays dead. As they come to inspect her, she grabs the Cock and the hens and despatches them all. As the Forester tries to intervene she pushes him over and escapes. 

Act 2

In the forest, the Vixen upbraids the Badger for occupying such a large sett alone. Wanting the sett for herself, she urinates on him and he stumps off, insulted. The Vixen claims her den.

At the village inn the Forester, Parson and Schoolmaster are chewing the fat. The Forester teases the Schoolmaster about an old girlfriend Terynka; he fires back about the Forester’s failure to subdue the Vixen. Goaded further, the Schoolmaster goes home, soon followed by the others.  

Walking tipsily through the nocturnal forest, the Schoolmaster mistakes the Vixen hiding behind a large sunflower for his beloved, Terynka. The Parson muses on the girl who betrayed him long ago. The Forester in pursuit of the Vixen, fires at her and the others run away.

Moonlight in the forest. The Vixen encounters a handsome Fox and is smitten; he is equally impressed. He woos her with a dead rabbit. They declare their love. They disappear into her den to consummate their union. When they come out, they decide to get married. The forest creatures celebrate their wedding.

Act 3

In the forest the Forester confronts the poacher Harašta, who boasts that he is going to marry Terynka. The Forester decides to set a trap for the Vixen. Both leave.

The little foxes come out to play. Their mother discovers the trap and decides to taunt whoever is responsible. Seeing Harašta she lies in his path. He puts his basket of chickens down, picks up his gun and gives chase but falls flat on his face. The foxes raid his basket. Nursing a broken nose, Harašta fires aimlessly and kills the Vixen. 

Back at the inn, the Forester tells the Schoolmaster he has found the Vixen’s den deserted. The latter learns that Terynka is getting married that day, wearing a new muff made from fox-skin. They talk about the Parson, who has left for a new village where he’s lonely. The Forester pays his bill and sets off for home.

In the forest he remembers his ardent youth. Feeling tired, he admires the natural beauty around him and lies down to sleep. He dreams of the forest animals, and looks around for the Vixen. 

Stretching out his hand towards her, he finds he has picked up the Frog. But it isn’t the same frog, says the amphibian -- that was his grandfather, who used to talk about the Forester. The Forester lets his gun fall. 

George Hall

Creative team

Conductor Vladimir Jurowski
Director Melly Still
Set Designer Tom Pye
Costume Designer Dinah Collin
Lighting Designer Paule Constable
Choreographer Maxine Doyle

Cast

Forester Sergei Leiferkus
Vixen (Bystrouška)  Lucy Crowe
Fox Emma Bell
Parson / Badger Mischa Schelomianski
Harašta, a poacher William Dazeley
Forester's Wife / Owl Jean Rigby 
Schoolmaster/Mosquito Adrian Thompson
Pásek, Innkeeper Colin Judson
Innkeeper’s Wife Sarah Pring

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus

Audio files: 

Audio extracts courtesy of Chandos

This recording is available to buy on CD from the Glyndebourne Shop

Mischa Schelomianski as Badger in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Louise Moseley as Young Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Chorus members as Hens in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Dancers and Chorus members in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Sergei Leiferkus as the Forester and Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Sergei Leiferkus as the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Emma Bell as the Fox and Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Sergei Leiferkus as the Forester and William Dazeley as Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Adrian Thompson as the Schoolmaster  in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Emma Bell as the Fox and Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Emma Bell as the Fox and Lucy Crowe as Vixen Sharp Ears alongside chorus in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper
Jean Rigby as the Forester's wife and Sergei Leiferkus as the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen 2012. Photo Bill Cooper

Comments

The post-interval scenes were excellent and moving - done at the right speed. But Act 1 was so rushed - by far the fastest performance I have ever heard - that most of the great musical moments evaporated. Eg the dream sequence and the first scene too. Why did Jurowski want it done so fast? I wanted to luxuriate in the wonderful harmonies and orchestration.

A very thoughtful and complex staging of a rather difficult opera. Every role was superbly well sung and acted, with no weaknesses. My recollections of previous versions are that the music is not some of Janacek's most lyrical. However, I found that in this production there were many passages of great beauty and lyricism.

I have noted that some people have objected to the 'sex & violence' in this production. However, I do feel that the Director has successfully depicted the instinctive behaviour of animals. Before I left for Glyndebourne, a flock of seagulls caught a pidgeon outside my lounge window; killed it and then ate it. As I type this message, two foxes are making a lot of noise in our garden. Whether we like it or not, animals don't agonise over their behaviour and I thought that the Director bought out this aspect of animal activity very well.

Despite having recently being in hospital, I thoughly enjoyed the evening; it was well worth the three-hour drive from London.

A thoughtful portrayal of obsessive desire. I am not surprised that it is reported that Janacek had the finale played at his funeral. I wonder whether Kamila Stosslova was present and . if so, whether she understood.

We saw the Cunning Little Vixen on 7th June and were completely enchanted by the production. Unlike the reviewer in The Guardian,we did not feel confused by Melly Still's interpretation of the opera which gave an unsentimental but warm representation of both the animal and human world. The set and costumes were stunning and the singing, acting, dancing and orchestral playing were all of a very high standard.

I watched this at the cinema. The production seemed interesting but the way it was filmed was completely distracting. Far too many close-ups so that it was impossible to get a sense of the whole set or the whole scene. One character singing to another who was off-screen. Rapid jumps between different views of a character or scene. Cameras panning to follow a character across the set so that bits of others appeared in the background. In short, it's much better to keep the camera back to give the spectator's normal view - surely that's what the director intended. The operas from the Met are exemplary.

It is one of the masterpieces of modern opera and your production did justice to this. The music and singing by the orchestra and major players was beautiful and your production concept picked up the universal, cyclical theme that make us all feel truly alive via Janacek. As for the set, the precipitous pathway down to the stage was a real coup de theatre and so was the tree (with wise birds). There are other details I could quibble about but I won't because I loved it.
Jill

Looking at the numerous comments on 'The Vixen' above, one must be prepared for something unusual and adventurous at Glyndebourne. Otherwise, be prepared to attend a routine performance elsewhere. My wife and I enjoyed the performance, singing and the scenery. We are long standing 'Friends' and come for a change and will be back again and again.......!
Keep up the good work!

We had not seen Vixen before, but loved Melly Still's Rusalka, so were keen to experience this. We did do some homework, so knew the gist of the 'plot', and we found the production fascinating. Not a production to just sit back and enjoy (although if you just wanted to listen to the beautiful music, you could do that), I think it needed close attention to appreciate; to that extent it was 'interesting' rather than 'entertaining'. We were so interested that we watched it again on the Guardian website yesterday; this was well worthwhile, as the filming was very good, and the close-ups provided a new perspective, literally and figuratively. The set and lighting were brilliant, apart from the rather crude 'fireflies' towards the end, where we could see the projectors rotating behind the vegetation. Another memorable Glyndebourne performance.

We saw this opera at our local Cineworld. It was enjoyable both in respect of the costumes, the singing and the staging, though we did think the staging was at times very dark and it was difficult to see what was happening. We're glad we've seen it, though we thought it would have been better had it been sung in English as the Czech was inaccessible: we know not a single word of the language. Our enjoyment was somewhat marred by having a 30 minute interval during which a static camera somewhere high up on the house was trained on the lawn below and showed various patrons having supper al fresco. It was boring in the extreme, and we felt the time could have been filled with interviews with the singers/production staff (which could have been filmed at an earlier time). After 30 mins of the interval there were some insights into how the production came into being - these were most interesting, but the long empty gap while watching the clock count down the minutes was simply awful.

We're glad we saw the opera, but agree with a lot of the comments of others who saw it live.

The set design was stunning, the orchestra brought out all the thrilling fragmented lyricism of Janacek's marvellous score but from our high perches in the upper circle the woodland scene was naught but confusion - especially in the first half. Who was singing? What creature is that supposed to be? What the heck is going on? This is the fourth production that I have seen and definitely the weakest. I think that directors would be well advised to keep the animals animal-like and make the humans human. And it is a very busy score with an almost cinematic narrative: don't be afraid to ditch the frenetic activity to allow a stage picture to emerge.

After the marvellous "Jenufa" (seen twice), Katya Kabanova (the supreme mother-in-law opera) and the Makropulus Affair, Glyndebourne's fourth introduction to us of the work of Janacek was an out and out disappointment! One does expect a modicum of vocal enchantment from the opera stage but felt nothing was forthcoming from the hard-worked singers. Our overall reaction was "Thank goodness the orchestra had some interesting things to do!" I think you were swept up in the technical opportunities to show off your staging abilities. Although the music would not have permitted it, the production itself would have served well for a popular theatre musical. What a great pity!

The sound and singing was totally magic. I felt the production lacked the magic to go with it. It was not immediately obvious as to who was who even with some knowledge of the opera. Parts of the set was ingenious and i loved the tree! A great evening but not totally memorable.

I was at the cinema to see it yesterday and although I enjoyed it like several others who have posted comments already I found it difficult to identify all the animal characters (I have seen the opera once before at the ROH).

This was my first time attending a Glyndebourne cinema screening although I have been to quite a lot of the Met ones. Given that the interval is already shortened compared to what actually happens at the performance I thing it still needs to be a bit shorter. Sitting in a cinema watching a long-distance shot of the lawns while the time counts down for 30 minutes is *very* boring, and at a lot of cinemas there is nothing else to do. The features/interviews after the interval were interesting but it would have been better if these started after 20 minutes. An American friend who was watching online thought the same.

We attended the June 7 performance. We found the first half entertaining but at times it was difficult to work out who was who from our seats in the Upper Circle. The second half was excellent in all respects, wonderfully acted and produced and very moving. We also went to last night's HD live performance which enabled us to see just exactly what was going on in the first half and to appreciate what the producer had set out to achieve. Even so we agree with many others that it would have been so much better if the animals had been more obviously characterised to allow immediate identification of the species for those sitting some way from the stage. (We had the same trouble last year with the photograph inside the desk at the start of Rinaldo). The cinema performance also allowed us to fully appreciate the quality of the acting that the producer had drawn out from all the principal singers.
On both occasions the orchestra and singers were outstanding.

Totally magical except for the chickens

Having enjoyed Melly Still's production of Rusalka we were looking forward to a similar level of magic, but her Vixen didn't quite come up to the same standard, except perhaps for the closing scenes. Whilst playing up the human aspects of the animals is certainly a valid interpretation, it made it hard at times to tell what the animals were supposed to be without a detailed recall of the plot. Musically outstanding, however.

Whilst beautifully played and sung, I really wish I'd kept my eye's shut. In this so sensitive of opera's, Glyndebourne's compelling urge to over sex almost everything that it can really rather ruined the performance. Far too much on stage (bonking chickens for heaven's sake - do we really need that? Is it just to keep up with Fairy Queen's bunny orgy?) and not a single gap for reflection. The work is about the fundamental simplicity of life - maybe Glyndebourne should look at returning to the simplicity of it's performance.

While the singing was splendid, I really disliked the ugly and almost incomprehensible production. For example, it was impossible to identify which animal was which and it was hard to feel sympathy for any of the characters on this occasion. I also found the translation for the surtitles unnecessarily offensive.

An absorbing evening (7 June). Production and performances were compelling and really drew us in - so much so that we head for the cinema screening in Cambridge tonight for a repeat dose.

I saw this last night.I have seen the opera before (at Covent Garden about 20 years ago) but my three guests had not. I have a clear recollection from that earlier production of all the animals and the characters being clearly identifiable. Last night, apart from the badger and the foxes the poultry and the frog, we all found it so dimly lit that it was almost impossible to work out who was who and what was going on, even from the front row of the foyer circle(I had hoped that we had got past opera in the dark). We just found it a really unhelpful production which made it difficult to get through to the music. Compared to your Jenufa, Katya Kabanova and Makropolus Case, a bit disappointing.

This is one of my favourite operas, so I was thrilled to learn that it was being presented at Glyndebourne. I am devasted to say that I was totally disappointed -so much so that i called for a taxi at the Long Interval and left. The director completely missed the point of this opera. I have previously seen two excellennt productions - at Opera North and by the students of the Royal Northern College of Music. Both of these held me spell bound. Shame on Glyndbourne for not coming near these 'provincial' productions.

Unfortunately my view of the stage was obscured by the man in front of me who was either exceptionally tall or was sitting on a cushion. Consequently I saw very little of the action but the music was great.

What a feel good production for all the family! Short and sweet enough for those previously unfamiliar with opera. A great introduction piece, with delicate balletic moves competing with superb vocals. Thank you to all who were responsible for such an enjoyable performance.

Orchestra, conductor,singers,costumes,set and lighting [no one seeems to mention lighting, which can make or break an opera]all excellent. As to the production overall, I have been scratching my head about why I have my doubts. I think it is two things. First (and most importantly) there was too much going on, to the point where it became a distraction from the central theme. It was as if the director's priority was to put her own interpretation ahead of that intended by the composer. Second (of itself unimportant but symptomatic of my first point) the gratuitous sex made one think "oh no, not again" just as I thought in the recent ENO Dutchman. A Peter Hall would not have made either of those mistakes. Nonetheless, a delightful evening which provoked thought; which some say is the ultimate purpose of art!

An imaginative production, lovely singing and extremely good acting. Some glorious orchestral interludes. Following the infamous Guardian review, I approached this opera with trepidation, but I was pleasantly surprised and delighted. A marvellous way to spend a disappointingly damp and cold evening.

Wonderful music and fine singing. Shame about the supercilious staging that threatened to distract and detract from the music. Keep it simple; great music does not need silly gimmicks.

Oh dear. One of the least enjoyable productions we have ever seen at Glyndebourne. A lot of the problem lies with the original selection; how can you invite people to travel from afar for a mediocre first act of 38 minutes (and it was mediocre) followed by a 90 minute interval? The second half was somewhat better, but overall we were left with the impression of having attended a rather expensive pantomime.

I agree this was a mixed bag, sadly lacking in magic.This was a surprise after Melly Still's Rusalka.Having first seen The Vixen with June Bronhill in the title role and subsequently at ENO, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne I found this easily the most disappointing production. The animals are very poorly delineated although the basic set worked well. Why oh why were all those non Czechs mumbling through an alien language...it is so much more memorable in English. Last time you did the Vixen it was paired with La Voix Humaine.It was hard not to feel short changed this time...although the weather was perfect and as always our visit was a wonderful occasion.

we love the music of Janacek and it was very well performed by Jurowski and LPO. we prefer the Amsterdam production; to compare it have a look at the promo on youtube!

I was thrilled when I saw 'The Cunning Little Vixen' on the 2012 program, particularly as it was to be directed by Melly Still, whose staging of Rusalka was one of the best I have ever seen of any opera. This production did not disappoint; it was utterly charming, tender and funny, while also drawing out the more serious content without becoming in any way heavy handed. I loved the woodland life always present, yet not intrusive and the set was stunning. The singing was universally excellent and the vixen and the Fox superb. It was all held together with great momentum and verve by the LPO under Jurowski.This is a very unusual opera, beautifully and sensitively realised. We all had a great evening.

Wonderful orchestral playing & good singing.
Magical forest but why oh why were the animals entirely dressed as people. We had no idea who represented who. The Royal Opera House production was much clearer and very enjoyable.
Everyone around us had the same problem,perhaps the addition of animal ears would clarify without spoiling the overall effect.

What a disappointment! Remembering the wonderful Covent Garden production of the early 90's our party went with high expectation but this production we thought mediocre in the extreme. The excellent orchestral playing and the quality of the singing compensated in part but the visuals could not be avoided - wonderful for the children who took part but not for us! As Hugh Canning so perceptively wrote in the ST, the production was largely a pantomime with hardly any sense of the underlying theme of the cycle of life and death.

A glorious performance, but my pleasure was tinged with regret at what I failed to see. From the upper circle, each time I raised my eyes to read the supertitles I was aware that I was missing a piece of the beautiful and witty choreography below (some of which was in any case quite hard to distinguish in the low lighting). For me, this is a powerful argument for the opera to have been sung in English.

Perhaps a solution to the opera's brevity would have been to have performed it twice over, allowing us all to catch what we missed on first viewing?

Congratulations to the gardeners. To emerge at the interval and see the flowerbeds filled with triumphant and defiant white foxtail lilies (and, of course, foxgloves) was a joy.

I attended the Cunning Little Vixen with my grandson (aged 9.11 years). He was neither bored nor distracted and appreciated the detail - which he constantly monitored & thus, was subtly but fully drawn into this production.

We particularly liked the settings & the costumes of the Animals and their representation.
(The de facto, anthropomorphising of them all!)

We enjoyed the devices used to portray them too. ( so simple in the case of the Frog & the Milch Cow). We liked the uninhibited portrayal of animal scent marking & additionally, the Starling's 'dispetto' towards the Badger.

We loved:

The planks of wood for the tree so skilfully placed and central to the action , the characters' use of it and the economy of the set- incorporated into the whole.
The knife at the Vixen's side & her unfaltering assertiveness.
The Chickens and the Cockerel alongside all the other 'creatures' & personages -protagonists and non-protagonists- were diverting and very 'simpatici'.
The Dancers.
The Orchestra.

In contrast, the Hunter (bravissimo) we felt , had a hard role to fulfil; one's sympathies being naturally with the Vixen & her fellow creatures throughout!

This was both an outspoken & sensitively enlightened production, no-one eclipsing anyone else, and this is what we most valued.

Both my companion for the evening and I had seen (different and separate) productions of this opera in the past. While my companion thoroughly enjoyed the evening musically, artistically and, of course, the Glyndebourne Experience itself, I was less enthusiastic.

The set was well conceived, but the costumes of some of the creatures, possibly due to the low level of lighting, left me at times confused as to what they represented. I had no criticism of the singing or orchestral playing though at times it was difficult to work out which of the singers' words were being shown on the subtitle screen when two were involved.

Possibly excessively-sexualised in the first half, but there were also some lovely light hearted props such as the rubber glove for an udder and the bird droppings.

I know it's a long time ago and maybe my memory plays tricks with me, but I think that the Welsh National Opera production in the 1980s with Helen Field as the Vixen remains my preferred version.

I have seen this opera a number of times and always enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed your production, had I been able to see it properly. My seat was D47, Red Circle, from which the view of the stage was partially obscured by people in the rows in front of me. If I stood, which I was able to do as I was in the back row, I could see properly. However, £145.00 a seat for two seats, total £290.00 is a huge amount to pay for seats with partial views, requiring me to stand. I consider that your expectation of what the public should pay for poor seats is grossly inflated.

A few years ago, I sat at one side of the House and could not see the surtitles for the opera, sung in German, because they were completely blocked by stage lights attached to the underside of the balcony above me. I know only a little German, so all I could do was watch the action, listen to the music and try to guess what the performers were singing about.

Recently, I went to the opera in Valencia and the design of this house, also a modern one, was such that the sightlines were excellent, no matter where you sat. I also went, very recently, to the new opera house in Vilnius and have the same comment to make about that. These opera houses, modern designs as is Glyndebourne's are far better than yours, so far as the sightlines are concerned. Whoever decided that a modern opera house should be designed as is Glyndebourne's could only have been thinking about the people who sit centrally and hence pay the highest seat prices for an unobstructed view.

I will think very carefully about coming to Glyndeborne in future because of the shortcomings, in the design of the House.

We always love an evening at Glyndebourne and this was no exception. I cannot rate the Vixen as our best ever experience, but our final conclusion was that it had again been a great experience. Musically singing and orchestra were superb. The staging and PARTICULARLY the lighting were remarkable as were the costumes.
I agree with other comments that the first half was not the best. As there is really no story, there was nothing on which to concentrate and visually it was so busy one did not know where to look.I would say that in the interval we were luke warm. The second act however was a delightful experience and proved worth waiting for, to end with a feeling of a quite remarkable production and a lovely, if unconventional, operatic experience.

Very interesting and imaginative staging. A bit confusing as to the animals (what they were supposed to be) but beautifully sung.

I so liked Katya Kabanova that I came with great enthusiasm. This was very different - a slight opera which was so padded out that I wondered when anyone was going to begin singing. The second act was better than the first and the LPO and Lucy Crowe were splendid throughout however this opera was not for me. On to the next!

I agree with one of the previous comments that this is not Janacek's best opera, but I - and my first-time Glyndebourne guest - enjoyed it. The staging and singing were great. We were, however, lucky to get there in time: it took three hours to drive from central London! (It usually takes around two.) Perhaps this was to do with the holiday weekend, but it might be worth warning people about the traffic. I'm coming again on 8 June and will leave even earlier...

In many years of coming to Glyndebourne, I have never felt a production to be as unprofessional and lacking in stage skills as this Vixen. The lighting design was so incompetent that it was often impossible to know who was singing, and the animals could not be identified. The stage action was crowded,over detailed and often meaningless.So much went on that the story lost its clarity; and the shooting of the vixen was lacking in emotional impact. The music was superbly played, and usually well sung. But this messy production was unworthy of Glyndebourne.
By contrast, Cenerentola was superb. Every moment on the stage contributed to the meaning of the dramatic action, and the characterisation. The production team of the Vixen should be encouraged to go to it, and learn from it.

A wonderful evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the interpretation of the opera and the visual effects. However, whilst I can understand the reasoning for singing the opera in the composers native tongue, it became rather difficult to follow with the subtitles. The ending was slightly weak in that it should culminate in a radiant hym to nature and I do not think that the production achieved this. I love coming to Glynedbourne and overall thought it was great.

I could hardly have chosen a better day for my first Glyndebourne experience then last Sunday. The weather was so fine and bright that is was just and simply a pleasure to discover the grounds and gardens and learn more about the picnic tradition.
The performance was in every aspect brilliant. All performers worked so well together that Janacek's colorful music came full to it's right with all it's changes and the artificial balance between comic and dramatic parts, including moments of breathtaking beauty and emotional deepness.
Also the production found my full admiration. The scene had it's magic, but the story wasn't simplified. The animals human characters came out clearly and in a certain way they seemed to be the "better" human beings, living more in the moment and enjoying live as it is.
All together I can just say: this was a perfect day full of wonderful music and sunshine.

While I LOVE Janacek's music - especially Jenufa, Katya and Macropoulis - Vixen has always been my least favourite of his operas (despite some lovely music) as I have always found the story so childish and the inevitable characterisation of woodland animals on stage rather trite.

I have to admit that this production has changed my view - it was WONDERFUL. Yes, the story cannot rival the drama and emotion of Katya or Jenufa, but once you accept the theme of Vixen for what it is (having a charm all of it's own), this production colours everything so beautifully and engagingly. Lovely staging and costumes and the Vixen herself is entrancing - just magical!

A great production with stunning stage set and effects.
The music and singing were challenging for both singers and
audience but the whole evening was a memorable success and
enormous fun........a great night out.

Anthony Proctor

As always I loved the ambience and the luxury of spending time at Glyndebourne. We ate in the Mildmay Hall and the food was very good. Musically I thought it was very strong but I found the first half rather confusing and too much going on. The second half was an improvement but I still felt slightly irritated by the production. Still it was an experience to remember and will be a talking point for some time.

while I adore the Janacek sound I am not sure the Vixen adds up to an opera

Fine Glyndebourne. We went as a sort of anniversary because the 1976 production was the first time I took my wife Carole to Glyndebourne. Then I was a little aprehensive but she loved it! I enjoyed the fact that this production was so different; it seemed to match the music especially well. Carole liked the portrayal of the animals in 1976 better and Thomas Allen was special as the forrester. All in all a wonderful evening; it was like seeing the Vixen for the first time again!

We enjoyed this fresh interpretation - it's a slight opera, almost a pantomime - and needs the energy and youth of a cast like this one to carry it off. Lucy Crowe is wonderful as the Vixen - she is really believable as the naughty central character and has a beautiful voice. Inspired sets, dance and characterisation - particularly the chicken coup! Altogether a fun evening in the opera house with the very best of tamed nature on a sunny Sussex evening outside.

The singing was excellent but the production was a horror from start to finish - it was like going to a pantomime. Sadly it was one of the worst productions we have seen. Admittedly the second half was slightly better than the jumble of the first half of the opera. I would not recommend anyone to go and see it.

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