Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen ****
Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 12th June 2016
Seventy years before Elton John’s “The Circle of Life” graced The Lion King, Leoš Janáček celebrated nature’s cycle in The Cunning Little Vixen. His inspiration was drawn from a comic strip in the newspaper Lidové noviny, depicting the adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears outwitting the forester. Yet the opera grapples with thorny issues of death and renewal which a cutesy Disney staging can diminish. Melly Still, returning to revive her 2012 staging at Glyndebourne, lays nature bare. Cartoonish, but never sentimental, it presents Vixen red in tooth and claw, contrasting the animals’ freedom of spirit with the humans’ resignation about ageing.
Read the full review on Bachtrack.