Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen

Nicholas Hytner (stage director), Charles Mackerras (music director) – With Eva Jenis (The Vixen) – Théâtre du Châtelet

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Nicholas Hytner

Jean-Claude Gallotta — Choreographer

Jean Kalman — Lighting

Bob Crowley — Costume designer

Thomas Allen — The Forester

Eva Jenis — The Vixen

Hana Minutillo — The Fox

Libuše Márová — The Forester's Wife / The Owl

Ivan Kusnjer — The Poacher

Richard Novák — The Parson / the Badger

Josef Hajna — The Schoolmaster / The Mosquito

Jean-Philippe Marlière

Sarah Connolly — The innkeeper's Wife / the Cock / the Jay

Florence Bonnafous — The Hen

Françoise Martinaud — The Woodpecker

Orchestre de Paris

Program notes

An enchanting children's story, here presented in Nicholas Hytner's highly poetic production.

In the forest, a forester is having a nap against a tree. Waken up by a vixen cub playing with a frog, the forester captures the vixen and takes it home. But the vixen is unhappy in this confinement among servile pets. The vixen decides to run off to freedom. A handsome fox appears. Introductions, seduction, marriage: the couple soon settles and gets a litter of fox cubs. The poacher Harasta arrives in the forest, sets traps, shoots. The vixen is killed. Harasta offers the vixen's fur to his bride, Terynka, during their wedding day. The forester, overwhelmed with the lost of the vixen and Terynka, whom he loved, finds consolation seeing the vixen's cubs running around, contemplating the everlasting cycle of life and death.


Drawing its inspiration from a comic-strip written by Stanislav Lolek, The Cunning Little Vixen is an enchantingly poetic opera. Combining the simplicity of a children's story with the spontaneity of Moravian folk songs, Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen carries the spectator away into an ingenious and naive world. But underneath an apparent simplicity, emotion pierces through. An emotion sometimes innocent and lighthearted, sometimes tragic and solemn, but an emotion always confident in the eternal renewal of life.

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