By Neus Forner
The Cunning Little Vixen is a Czech opera by Leoš Janáček that follows the story of Vixen Sharp-Ears as she figures out life in the forest. We see her being captured by the forester, learning about feminist independence, falling in love and having many little vixens, and dying in the hands of another forester. This three-act opera is extremely entertaining. From the costumes to the set, everything has a story-like atmosphere that enhances the story to another level.
This being my first opera, I was pleasantly surprised. I went in not knowing anything, and expecting a more traditional opera, but was surprised to find this modern fantasy-filled show that made me laugh out loud multiple times. The most remarkable aspect of the opera was definitely the lyrics of the songs. They were laugh-at-loud-hilarious. The continuous banter of feminism, socialism and animal rights was refreshing and gave a modern vision to the classical setting. The music was, without a doubt, beautiful and perfectly harmonic. The Welsh National Orchestra was fabulous! Each animal was perfectly represented by the sounds being played. If you closed your eyes, the sounds made by the music would tell you what animal was coming to the stage.
The costumes and the set were also some of the most extraordinary aspects of the opera. The different tones used for each animal, the shiny leotards of the dragon-flies… it was a feast for the eyes. Not to mention that some of the actors were also dancers. The melodic music and the costumes accentuated their movements perfectly. Just as impressive was the set. The hill-like set was perfect to create depth and altitude to the show. The hanging branches and the hanging chairs with birds in them (which were real actors) were jaw-dropping. The set opened in the middle to change into a bar or a house. Since the set was a high platform, you couldn’t guess where the character would come from, and that was exciting!
The plot was basic, but the characters made it more relatable and layered with their modern feminist and socialist banter. Not to mention the children actors, and how they added a bright vision to the show. I really enjoyed the first to acts, but I felt like the third one was rushed. The conclusion happened too quickly and I missed some important details from the story.
All in all, I really enjoyed this modern and refreshing opera. I am happy to say that my first experience with this world was certainly enjoyable and one that I cannot wait to repeat!