Magazine article Opera Canada

The Cunning Little Vixen: The Pacific Opera Victoria Production

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Cunning Little Vixen: The Pacific Opera Victoria Production

Article excerpt

Pacific Opera Victoria's first-ever staging of The Cunning Little Vixen paid due obeisance to the spirit of Janacek's 1924 opera, and, judging from snippets of conversation overheard at intermission, opened a lot of Victoria eyes and ears to the composer's spiky individuality.

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Leslie Frankish's sets, with their saturated greens and browns, were vivid and stylized almost to the point of surrealism. They also had a quirky individuality, and, whether depicting forest glade, barnyard or tavern, were eminently adaptable to the work's intricate staging challenges. However, many of her costumes looked tame in comparison. And I'm not clear on stage director Wim Trompert's take on Janacek's endearing little fable. Several singers had both human and animal roles: tenor Peter Blanchet as the schoolmaster/Mosquito, for instance, as well as mezzo-soprano Rebecca Hass as the Forester's Wife/Owl and soprano Alison Nystrom as the Innkeeper's Wife/Woodpecker. But where there should have been clear character delineation, Trompert had encumbered them with too many onstage gestures and movements that were cautious, tentative and without evident theatrical purpose, especially when the singers were in their animal incarnations. …

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