Friday, 1 March 2013

The cunning little Vixen at the WNO

Part 2 of the modern classic project, the Welsh National Opera re-staged an older production yesterday of the Cunning Little Vixen by Janacek. The opera is more than problematic and the narrative creaks at many points. However, Janacek's score is bound to win even the hardest critic over.

Sophie Bevan as the Cunning Little Vixen (Foto: Catherine Ashmore)


The main problem I had with it was the production itself. Janacek's libretto is not the most convincing and he never quite settles either for a tragic personal story or a comic satirisation of gender politics. So, the opera remains stuck in between and veers from comedic portrayals of real life to caricatures of humanity as reflected through animal lives. Whilst the setting is entertaining, the production is more in the childish category and urgently needs a revamp.

The orchestra of the Welsh National Opera however played heroically under Lothar Koenigs and showed a discipline that echoed their excellent performance of Alban Berg's Lulu. It's to them, the unsung heroes in the orchestra pit, that the main applause went and it was richly deserved.

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