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

Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times called this a flop. He was wrong. It wasn't. He has never brought me or any other opera goer any joy. This production did. He should shut up.

Music - excellent. Set - good and imaginative. But Oh the costumes! I thought I knew the opera quite well, but was hard put at times to know whether a character was supposed to be animal or human. Plainer (not cuddly-furry) costumes would have been much less distracting.
But please do it again another year - with minor modifications!

To finally go Glyndebourne was a dream come true for me as I had wanted to attend a production since first I saw newspaper photos in the fifties of people in full evening dress boarding the train on their way to what sounded to me a magical event! The whole evening lived up to all my expectations. My daughter,my friend and I were entranced by the music, the production,the venue the wit, the verve, the wonderful singing and the energy of all those involved.And oh yes; the meal at Nether Wallop was superb also. Yours sincerely, Pamela Terry

We saw the Cunning Little Vixen on its last night at Glyndebourne. For us it was unfortunate that we had seen the brilliant Marriage of Figaro the evening before, and this production pales in comparison. Having said that it was a very enjoyable evening despite its shortness, interval in the wrong place and problems with identifying characters among the animals and insects. The story and structure raises the question of what is an opera, really; we concluded that the Vixen was a beautiful musical entertainment. The production was beautiful and the music entrancing. We enjoyed the evening, as did the friends who came with us and who usually plump for the Mozart and similar productions.

loved the show- superb sets and design, wonderful music- great playing and singing. The day we came it started slightly late which meant the supper break was late- it would have been really helpful to have confirmation of the timing for the second half to be announced as we all headed out for our picnics- there was quite a lot fo unneccessary rush and confusion for us and for many.

I totally agree with two aspects of te comments - first that the interval was in completely the wrong place, and second that the opera is just too short for the long trip to Glyndebourne. Even the added "Diary of One who Disappeared", which was performed on the afternoon we attedned, and which by the way was outstanding, failed to make up for the short duration of the opera.

That said, I loved the production from the very first bar, thought the staging stunningly beautiful and musically very rewarding.

So here are a few suggestions for its revival, make it a one act opera, and add Katya Kabanova and make it a double bill. even with these two operas, it would not be much longer that Figaro and probably shorter than Fairy Queen. And while on the subject of double bills, here is a suggestion, Friedenstag and Daphne....please!

I've seen the Vixen a number of times; this production has possibly had the greatest impact. I agree strongly that the interval was at the wrong time, also that the conducting was at times too fast and brisk, while not all the singing was top notch. But the production (and after some reviews I had come fearing the worst) was striking and I think had integrity, which is not the case for many modern opera productions. It's true that it was confusing, but I think the director was saying that the precise characterisations are not important. What came over was a childlike sense of fantasy and a true closeness to nature. The strange bond between vixen and forester came over powerfully. At the end the forester appears to die, either in fact or metaphorically, but we see his soul, or better self, or whatever, in a sense going to meet the vixen. That final image was both thought-provoking and moving.

I have waited for more than a week to post this comment because I wanted to think hard about why this Vixen did not work for me. This was the fourth time I have seen this opera. I saw Benjamin Luxon first at Glyndebourne many years ago; more recently I saw the Simon Rattle and Charles Mackerras performances at Covent Garden.

Where I found them superior to this season's offering can I feel be laid at the door of conductor and director. This Vixen was too "driven". It lacked the moments of peace and repose that help add to the scores magic. I loved Still's Rusalka and that added to the disappointment because she too "drove" this Vixen too hard in a production that felt at times frenetic. The love and family Vixen finds has to come across with more magic and less direct sexuality for her death to be unbearable. None of this came across to me.

Jurowski's Janacek was too driven too; at least for me. I left thinking of your masterful productions of Kata, Jenufa and Makropolos and suggest if you revive this you ask Andrew Davis to conduct.

Enjoyable of course, but it was hard to follow and therefore to understand all the action.
Sometimes it was not even clear who was singing.
We appreciate that there are intrinsic problems in the production of this opera.
We are glad to have seen it, but it would not be high on our list for a re-visit...

The music was fantastic. Where we were sitting we could see most of the orchestra but not that much of the stage. Vision was also limited by the fact that the surtitles were only visible in bits because of the spotlights above our heads blocking our view. We were sitting in the Blue Foyer Circle I think box 3. Legroom great though.

We are not great opera experts..attending one a year...but thought this production was as good as it could be considering the story...and liked the not too literal interpretation of the animals...excellent chickens!
and the set.
but maybe the singing could have been more powerful and some of the critism of the orchestra / conducting I think is valid.

28th June and last of the run. Glyndebourne had the very good sense to place the performance of A Missing Person's Diary long enough before the main event to have a two hour interval. Janacek's works are not long but they are concentrated and the Diary was still running through my head two hours later. Nicholas Mulroy and Lucie Spickova gave superb performances in the principal roles and I was hugely impressed that nobody had a score to refer to. Not even Jeremy Bines at the piano who was obviously relishing his task. Easy to see why the Glyndebourne chorus is so good. Oh yes and then the Vixen. A lot has already been said. Controversial may be the right word. But the production does grow on you. If it should be revived how about getting Jeremy Bines to conduct?

A beautifully sung and enjoyable production (Jun 22), which really finds its heart in the seduction and wedding scene. Unfortuantely this came after rather than before the long interval (I can understand why for logistics, but its not so good for the opera).

I think Vixen is an opera which really benefits from being sung in English, and I very much wished this had been the case here. Jurowski conducts well but lacks the expansiveness of Mackerras and Rattle, so some scenes like the Vixens dreams of freedom, and the finale, failed to have the impact i have heard elsewhere.

We like Janacek's music very much, but were just a little disappointed by the Cunning Little Vixen: it is quite short (a bit too short for full price tickets .....), and is quite difficult to see how to interpret it beyond a rather disjointed fairy tale. That said, we don't see how you could have done it any better. The staging was unusual, and splendid, and all the main parts were superbly sung, acted, and danced.
We think your sculptures in the garden this year are brilliant - it is worth half the price of the ticket to be able to see Artemis in the field beyond the garden. We like the Fairy Queen pictures in the tea building too.

After the mixed reviews we were apprehensive ahead of seeing the performance last Friday ( 22 June). We thought the costumes and set were very good and enjoyed the performance.Having seen the opera once before ( The Grange) we thought that the music and performance were better.

Only question would be having the long interval in the middle of the second Act.

A rare (sadly, in these days) wedding of stage and music. Congratulations to all.

THE PLUS SIDE. The orchestra and the singers/actors on 19th June were all superb - terrific performances throughout. The scenery looked lovely and made me feel very positive about the production when it started.

THE MINUS SIDE. However, even though I know The Cunning Little Vixen reasonably well (this is the 10th time I've seen it, in the 7th different production), I found myself confused at times about who or what I was looking at; and my friend, who was seeing the work for the first time, was VERY confused! The piece does not follow a "normal" opera narrative and therefore requires exceptionally clear characterisation and direction; this was not a problem with the main principals, but the chorus groups and the smaller roles were not always readily identifiable. A high proportion of the audience are going to be seeing it for the first time, and it is so important that they can follow what is happening. And one specific query : why did the Dog have to be a Bitch? It raised an unnecessary question about his(her) interest in the Vixen!

(I typed the above without reference to previous comments, but am now interested to see that I am not alone!)

Am I allowed a wicked afterthought?
When the fox asks Bystroušky if she like rabbits, should he not nip off and slaughter one of the many rabbit impersonators hopping round the stage? To bring on a real rabbit means there are two types of rabbit in that forest! Am I too literal? Maybe I should get out more.......

I have read through some of the comments and was relieved to find a number as critical as mine will be.
Having been thrilled by Melly Still's Rusalka recently, we came with high expectations but were sadly disappointed.
Some years ago we saw an excellent production by Opera North in which it was quite clear who was who and what was what and what was going on.
This production was the exact opposite. You couldn't tell which animals, birds etc. were which, the men's parts were indistinguishable. In their scene together we were completely confused.
You couldn't easily tell which were live and which were dream sequences.
With an opera as fanciful as this,in spite of super singing and playing by the orchestra and attractive music, the net result was confusion and disappointment. At the interval we just sat and looked at each other and shook our heads sadly.

Musically of a very high standard but production, sets and costumes veered too much towards pantomime so that the magic in the music of the landscape and sense of mystery of the non-human world did not emerge. And too fussy and clever. Somehow Rusalka captured most of the magic of that world whereas the Vixen hardly approached it. All right if one closed ones eyes from time to time.

We also attended on 22 June. I think that Mr Gosney should have gone to "Specsavers".

Tonight was the eighth time I have seen this production. I quickly got used to the dancers doubling some of the characters. That aspect of the production has grown on me. I saw cameras at a couple of performances and devoutly hope that means a DVD is going to become available. There is just one aspect that I initially found annoying which has in fact become more annoying with repetition but will not be a problem on the DVD. A number of people have commented adversely and I entirely agree with them that the long interval falls at entirely the wrong point. I understand Janacek originally intended four acts but he wrote three and there is no musical sense to stopping the action in the middle of the second act. Also you get the dramatic idiocy of the fox cubs being conceived and then appearing on stage ten minutes later. With an interval you can accept that time has passed. If we are to have a revival. which I sincerely hope we will, please please put the long interval after the second act. Clearing the snow may be tricky but I am sure something can be done. In the Pountney production the vanishing snow was a coup de theatre. As a footnote thank you very much Glyndebourne for inviting me to a performance of The Diary of One who Disappeared on 28th June. I have never heard a live performance and this will be a real treat.

Musically the performancewas impressive and helped to show positive attributes of Janacek's scores. The orchestration of woodwind, strings and brass were exilarating. Unhappily the visual arts displayed were very disappointing. what were the creative team trying to show us? It was very difficult , even impossible to identify the various creatures of the forest, some with bizarre costumes. The vixen was not in the least like a vixen in any way, the dog repulsive and the owl identifyable, he seemed like a stage hand who had failed to get off the stage quick enough! None where engaging our senses. We think the artistic gamble failed here.

It would be interesting to learn what were the aims and intentions of the production team. Were they pleased with the outcome? Can we hear their story?

Absolutely brilliant!! What a magical experience this was - the production was superb, the singing world class, the colours and lighting, especially at the end superb, with that clarity and sharpness, and a sort of naivete which is so Janacek somehow.... I loved the set design with the clever "tunnel" effect path which was also a den, underground or overground depending on lighting, and also the snow scene, which was charmingly spread. The children also deserve credit for their excellence, acting and singing, and the costumes which were clever and apt. The "show-girl"chickens with their magnifying glasses and their rooster were perfect, and so funny! We just loved it, and the fact that we were blessed with a beautiful evening in one of the most delightful settings anyone could desire, for an outstanding presentation of opera made an evening I shall not easily forget. Thank you to all of you at Glyndebourne!

I attended on 13th June with some trepidation after a degree of critical lashing especially by the Sunday Times. I was very pleasantly surprised. I have seen this magical opera twice before and this was marvellous. I agree that the placing of the long interval in the middle of act 2 was unfortunate, but felt the production was inventive and beautifully realised. Roll on The Fairy Queen!

Musically superb but worthy of perhaps just a little tweaking in the production. I certainly did not think that the production merited most of the criticism it has received, but have come to the conclusion that problems lie in the animals not being immediately recognisable for what they represent. I'm glad they were not sentimentally fluffy which would never work, but I feel a better appreciation of what is going on could be achieved if, for example, the dog was immediately recognisable as an impression of a dog! Hens, however, simply brilliant!
The set worked superbly from a technical point of view but to me, in the stalls, it looked rather scruffy. I nipped up to the circle after the performance when the set was still lit, and it looked superb!! This is the first time ever I have wished I had purchased cheaper seats!!
The dramaturgy was well nigh perfect. The ending, superb, uplifting and full of poignancy.
Well done yet again Glyndebourne. 9/10 !!

The Vixen performance on tuesday (June 19) was memorable. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was my third production of this charming masterpiece (and my 1.042nd opera!). The production is marvelous, witty, intelligent, very creative and with all the charm required. Singers and orchestra were at top Glyndebourne level. That is to say, the best.
I had read a few unfavourable reviews which I cannot share, or understand, for that matter. One critic even mentioned that this opera should be given in English translation which in my mind doesn't make sense. Even before the very useful supertitles came into being, it is obvious to me that Janacek's score must be sung in the original if we do not wish to upset the sychronization of text with music. My experience tells me not to give too much weight to reviews.
A wonderful evening!

Cunning Little Vixen on Tuesday 19 June 2012.

The production was superb. Wonderful stage sets and lighting. The performances were fabulous. The dancing by all, especially the children, was enchanting. The performances by the singers was of the highest standard. It was wonderful to see Lucy Crowe in the lead and Jean Rigby as the Forrester's wife. They both won Gold medals and first prize in the Royal Over-Seas League music competition. I was its Director-General until I retired last October! Sergei Leiferkus was perfect as the Forester and he sang the part beautifully. Congratulation also to Vladimir Jurowski and the fabulous orchestra. It was the most wonderful evening.

We were lucky in having perfect summer weather and a delicious meal at Mildmay restaurant.

Yours, Robert Newell

Last night's Vixen was my third production of this magical masterpiece (and my 1.042nd. opera in nearly 62 years). I thoroughly enjoyed it. The production is wonderful, intelligent, witty, full of verve. Everyone was at top Glyndebourne level (which is saying the best).
I had read a couple of unfavourable reviews which I cannot share (nor understand, for that matter). One prominent critic whom I have been reading since a very long time goes as far as stating that this opera should be translated into English which is complete rubbish. Even before supertitles, he should know that Janacek's operas cannot be translated if what we want and need is perfect synchronization with the marvelous music. Anyway.....critics will always be critics and try to impress us that they know better.

We loved the music, singing and the set but felt that, whilst directors need to make a statement, this production did not quite have the magic of her production of Rusalka. We would have liked the animal costumes to resemble the animals they were supposed to be because, unless you are following a libretto, with this production, apart from the vixens and the badger, you really had no idea who was who. We also felt that the vixen's tails should have been attached to their costumes and we did not like the business with the chickens - a bit tawdry really.

A beautiful production with a magical feel.

The music was excellently played and was conducted with a real feel for the spirit of the piece.

Everyone should go!

Very enjoyable. Something different. The costumes were stunning!!!

ABsolutely magical - difficult to stage, but this was lovely. At first I felt there was so much going on it all might distract from the music. But the last act righted all that. The foxes were superb - brilliantly directed - and exquisitely sung. Lucy Crowe and Emma Bell were gorgeous. The orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski was superb. Can't wait to see it again - so rich was the experience. Then I would go far to hear any Janacek.

The reviews were so bad it was bound to be enjoyable... did they all have stomach ache or something?

Many thanks for arranging the sunshine too...

I had a enjoyable evening, but the opera, both musically and visually, wasn't nearly as good as the much more straightforward Covent Garden version I saw a couple of years ago, which was both more moving and more thought-provoking and which really displayed the depth of the music. This one was attractive, although very crowded, with some good singing - but didn't hit the heights. Nor did it plunge to the depths; it was well above average but not up to Glydebourne tops.

I find it baffling that some people failed to enjoy this performance. I saw it last night and thought it was absolutely wonderful. One of the best things I have seen on the Glyndebourne stage. Bravo.

TR

Few would challenge the view that this is a curious opera. It is hard to empathise with the characters as much as one is used to doing so in mainstream repertoire such as Tosca, Isolde, Rigoletto etc to name just a few. There are three reasons for this: first the characters are animals and even for the soft centred Brits who love their pets, it's hard to associate with them at an emotional level. Second, apart from the big money moment duet between the foxes, there is very little heroic substance to the parts to draw you into the characters; and third, the humans seem curiously detached from the goings on in the forest and more concerned with their somewhat mundane lives.

So how to enjoy glyndebourne's production then. Well think of this opera as a pastiche for orchestra with an incidental story on top with singing. The thrill of listening to Janaceks sound world conveyed by the orchestra for 100 minutes is well worth the train fare. He uses the orchestra like none other... And creates sounds, colours and textures that are not just unique to him but utterly compelling and absorbing. And combining this with his use of ostinato he creates enormous momentum and energy in his music.

You leave wanting more. And lots of it.

A beautiful production, moving and eloquent. The centre stage tree was extremely effective. I loved the animals-I don't think it matters that they weren't immediately identifiable. The vixen's brush worked brilliantly for us and underlined the blurring between human and animal that underlies this opera.
I tend to agree about the speed of the first half. Music as sublime as this could be enjoyed at a slightly more leisurely pace!
We went home full of joy and a sense that this superb opera had been well served.

I really enjoyed this production despite some poor reviews.
It's all down to personal taste but I had no problem with people singing in Czech (I am not Czech but I thought emotion etc was conveyed as well as when people sing in Italian, German etc). I thought the animal representation was excellent - allowing the actors to drift between being human and non-human. Yes, it was short enough not to need the uneven split, but that's Glyndebourne and the picnic for you.
I loved the sexiness, the pace and the colour. It didn't impose a radical new meaning or give a simple 'message' but that made it all the more suggestive and imaginative.
Please watch the thing for yourself online while you can - or better still get to see it and enjoy the excellent playing, dynamic singing and vivid production.

Wonderful performances from all involved. Great production too. We really enjoyed ourselves, notwithstanding the cold weather. The hot soup we brought in a flask was really welcome!

We went on a very blowy Saturday (16th). The new windmill generated lots of electricity that evening. I know and love my Neuman recording, but have never seen a production and was nervous given the mixed comments and reviews. To me it seemed perfect. Yes the tempi were faster than what I was used to, but that all seemed a piece with the production. Sometimes a production of an opera is so perfect there is no room for any other interpretation whatever its merits. I think Melly Still's will be that for me in the same way as the Pountney's is for an older generation. The stage pictures with the tree and path/burrow/river. The lighting underlining of the musical moods. The passing of the seasons. The characterisation of Janacek's huge list of characters, some only for a few seconds. The radiant singing of the Vixen and her fox. The wonderful orchestral interludes. The poignant final scene in fabulous autumn colours. And so on. Such an extraordinary work must be both a wonderful opportunity and huge risk for any producer. I feel Still grasped the opportunities and avoided the pitfalls. Most importantly the anthropomorphism of the characters seemed spot on. I would have hated cutesy fox / badger / hen costumes, and huge efforts to create "realistic" costumes would have been misplaced. Whilst the opera reflects the earthiness of nature, so much of the animals' behaviour isn't really animal. Has anyone really seen a fox and vixen court each other, let alone get married? I am looking forward to watching the streaming to reinforce those pictures in my head. I've got my name down for the DVD already! Bravo!

We saw Cunning Little Vixen on 16 June. As several others have said, the first half did not quite work - the characters were hard to identify for someone (like me) unfamiliar with the opera and it had to be stopped at a rather odd point to fit the schedule. At the interval I rather regretted that we hadn't gone for a Mozart or similar. But I also agree that the second half worked extremely well and pulled the production together. So overall we had a satisfying evening and it is always a pleasure to go to Glyndebourne in its own right.

My partner and I saw the production on the wind-buffeted 16th June. A couple of comments on earlier reactions:
1) Yes, the first half was at times confusing and felt rushed. But I think some of this needs to be laid at Janacek's door in terms of storyline - not his greatest. But the second half was beautifully paced and played and the evening went up a notch with the arrival of Emma Bell and the fox/vixen duet. Leiferkus may be getting towards that twilight zone but who could not fail to be impressed by Lucy Crowe.
2) Sex and violence: that's the way nature is I'm afraid. It is too easy to descend into complete whimsy and elegiac mush here and well done to The Director for avoiding that particular pitfall. Personally, I rather enjoyed the airhead chickens...

We are on holiday from Australia and spending a week in the area (Hove, actually). Three days ago on the off-chance there might be returns, I phoned Glyndebourne and managed to secure tickets to 'The Cunning Little Vixen' on 16 June.

Not expecting to have needed formal wear in Hove Actually, this started the mad scramble to find suitable disguise for two Antipodeans to blend gracefully into the scenery. (We tried the charity shops first but The Lanes finally brought forth the goods). Then weather threatened and it was too late to book a meal in the Wallops, but a dummy run to Glyndebourne and entreaties to wonderful staff and, hey presto, we were booked into Nether Wallop.

The production was delightful. The staging seemed to reflect both the innocence and brutality of nature. I loved the characterisations and costuming and thought the twitching tails so clever; with one twitch, the foxes could show anger, fear or flirtatiousness. And the singing and orchestra playing were wonderful. It was a really great evening.

To have such a jewel of an opera house on one's doorstep - even if only for a week - is a thrill. As for the kindness and helpfulness of all the staff at Glyndebourne we came across, I can only say 'thank you' and 'bravo'. It will be one of the best memories of our holiday to take back to Australia.

Janacek's score was beautifully played and perfectly judged by Vladimir Jurowski. This wonderfully colourful score sparkles with magic: charming, humorous and, at times, very dark. Sadly, the visual representation was a pale imitation of the music: very little humour - even from the animals (just some gratuitously coarse interaction) - so that the dramatic moments, when they came, had little or no impact. Unimaginative costumes, drab lighting and makeshift scenery - nothing beguiling or beautiful on the eye. The singers did their very best, but when dressed inappropriately and put in a somewhat alien setting, it must be extremely hard to take on any role with real conviction. Hugely disappointing.

An extremely disappointing production. Too many people and two much unneccary action completely obscured the moving story. Keep the three stars, keep the scenary, change the costumes and get rid of most of the rest of the cast.

This is a three act opera that unfortunately seems to suffer from its Glyndebournisation - and by that I mean from being split into two halves at what seems to be quite the wrong moment by the long interval. This seems to cause an imbalance in its natural musical structure and, for all its busy-ness, the production appears to have fallen flat on its face come dinner time. Like many other people we were left feeling unengaged and slightly bewildered at the end of the first half. But once into the opening minutes of the second half the whole thing seemed to lift and suddenly 'make sense'. It is a wonderful production - a real joy to watch and ultimately very moving. But I can understand why people who left at the interval might wonder why anyone could come to that conclusion. Interestingly the couple sitting next to us thought exactly the same. But all of us felt enriched for having 'stuck it out'. Bravo!

I was very disappointed by this production; for me the main problem was that the singers did not sound as if they were singing in Czech. The productions which I have most enjoyed were ones in the UK sung in English but by far the most authentic for me was James Conway's production at the National Theatre in Brno in 2008. There is a certain 'something' about the timbre of Czech singers when they sing in their native language, which cannot be reproduced satisfactorily by non Czech speakers. I found the children's voices far too quiet, especially that of the frog in that wonderful closing scene, and I would have preferred the animals to have resembled animals. The set was impressive and the orchestral playing superb, but I could happily have dispensed with all the dancers and extraneous action. All that said, we had some sunny, if very cold weather, and I am looking forward to my next visit in August.

I have just read the majority of comments on your feedback page and agree with so many---the first act was confusing as it was difficult to see which animal was which and I felt SO cheated that the foxes held their tails!!! Why I felt like that I don't know, but somehow it didn't work. . It was clumsy and I felt the problem of the tails was left like that as no one had a better idea. I'm sorry that one of your contributors left in the long interval as I felt the 2nd act was so much better.
The set was wonderful, also the playing of the London Phil. Overall the spectacle was enchanting but oh dear, which animal was which!!!!!!

My wife and I attended The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne yesterday (June 13th) and I would like first of all to say what a pleasure it was to come to Glyndebourne again. True we were very lucky with the weather, so were able to appreciate the garden at its best. I do admire the way Glyndebourne runs what must now be a very complex operation, and does so with a minimum of "rules" (how nice to be able to have our picnic on the terrace of the theatre if we so wish).
This said I have to say that I found the performance of what is one of my favourite operas rather disappointing. The singing was fine (good to find Sergei Lieferkus back in much better voice than the last time I heard him). I enjoyed the set and lighting. However the animal costumes were awful, and there was far two much directorial fussiness and rather obvious crudity. Janacek needs directness and simplicity and does not need extraneous ideas- compare the wonderful Glyndebourne Jenufa with the last two calamatous productions at Covent Garden.
This said I'm afraid the biggest disappointed came from the least expected quarter: Vladimir Jurowski's conducting. I hate to have to say this as I greatly admire Jurowski. The orchestral playing was great, but why did he so persistently fail to allow this wonderful score time to breathe? The first act dream sequence (which contains surely one of the greatest melodies ever written) passed by almost unnoticed (not helped by some distracting business on stage) and so often Janacek's wonderful contrasts seemed to be glossed over. Things improved for the Fox/Vixen duet (easily the most effective part of the production), but the wedding music sounded rushed. The great leaping horn phrases as the forester re-enters the forest for the final scene again were played too fast to count for much (compare with Neumann and the Prague National Theatre). Perhaps we were spoiled by the previous Janacek productions at Glyndebourne.

A delightful production, we loved the sets as well as the music. Only one minor criticism...using the children as fox cubs etc was great, but those who sang could not be heard.

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