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Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen returns to The Cleveland Orchestra

Sep. 01, 2017

Leoš Janáček’s <em>The Cunning Little Vixen</em> returns to The Cleveland Orchestra

On September 23, director Yuval Sharon’s semi-staged digitally-animated production of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen returns to The Cleveland Orchestra after its wildly successful premiere in 2014. Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, the production runs for three performances and stars Martina Janková as Vixen, Alan Held as Forrester, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Fox and Andrew Foster-Williams as Harašta.

Premiered in 1924 at the National Theater Brno, Janáček’s Vixen explores the timeless themes of love and unity through human and animal realms. Janáček himself characterized the opera as a “forest idyll,”one that would awaken the notion of the unity of life – both human and animal. The work is based on a popular serialized illustrated comic, first published in 1920, which Janáček was instantly inspired to adapt for the stage. His research for Vixen brought him to study bird and animal calls, assigning each an instrument or motif, and included close observation of a vixen’s life and routine in her den.

(Franz Welser-Möst and Yuval Sharon discuss their production of The Cunning Little Vixen)

The New York Times praised the production following its premiere, noting that it “thrillingly captures the opera’s vision of nature as a cycle of death, rebirth and constant transformation” while being “a consistently apt visual complement to a musical performance of impeccable quality and wide textural range.” The Cleveland Orchestra's performances run September 23 through 26 at Severance Hall.

For more information on Leoš Janáček, visit

Leoš Janáček
The Cunning Little Vixen (1922-1923)
libretto (Cz) by Leoš Janáček
translation (En) by Norman Tucker
Revised by Jiri Zahradka
for 8 sopranos (3 from the chorus), mezzo-soprano, 2 altos, 3 tenors (one from chorus), baritone, 3 basses, children soloists, corps du ballet, SATB choir and children’s choir