The Cunning Little Vixen
An opera in three acts by Leoš Janáček
Translation by Timothy Cheek
University Opera Theatre • University Symphony Orchestra
November 14-17, 2002 • Power Center
Director: Joshua Major
Conductor: Jerry Blackstone
Assistant Conductor: Rachel Lauber
Language Coach: Timothy Cheek
Scenic Designer: Peter Harrison
Costume Designer: Christianne Myers
Lighting Designer: Rob Murphy
Wig Designer: Guy Beck
Rehearsal Accompanists: Kathryn Goodson, Steven McGhee
Chorus Master: Gabriela Hristova
Stage Manager: Brett Finley
Revírník (Forester): David Dillard/Christopher Temporelli
Bystrouska (Vixen): Katherine Wessinger/Jaunelle Celaire
Rechtor (Schoolmaster): Brandon Brack/Nathan Northrup
Farár (Parson)/Jezevec (Badger): Aaron Theno/Darnell Ishmel
Harasta (Poultry Seller): Michael Turnblom/Tyler T. Oliphant
Pásek (Innkeeper)/Komar (Mosquito): Korland D. Simmons/Sean Panikkar
Lisák/Fox: Megan Besley/Elise Quagliata
Forester’s Wife/Sova (Owl): Miriam Kushel/Dianna Dumpel
Lapák (Dog)/Datel (Woodpecker): Jennifer Raggett/Carla Dirlikov
Chocholka (Hen)/Pasek’s Wife: Patricia Rhiew/Sara Guttenberg
Cricket/Frantík/Kohout (Rooster): Claire Molloy/Leah Dexter
Pepík: Milena Grubor/Sarah Packard
Baby Vixen: Rebecca Jo Loeb/Molly Spooner
Hens: Milena Grubor, Sara Morrison, Sarah Packard, Shaina Taelman, Arianna Wadkins
Fox Cubs: Leah Dexter (Fri./Sat.), Milena Grubor, Rebecca Jo Loeb (Thurs./Sun.), Claire Molloy (Thurs./Sun), Sara Morrison, Sarah Packard, Molly Spooner (Fri./Sat.), Shaina Taelman, Arianna Wadkins
Cricket: Shaina Taelman
Jay: Milena Grubor
Grasshopper: Sara Morrison
Frog: Sarah Packard, Arianna Wadkins
Dragonflies/Dancers: Christine Naughton, Leslie Williams-Bauer
Child Dragonflies: Natasha Major, Sonya Major
Offstage Ensemble: Erika Brehmer, Jennah Delp, Arielle Doneson, Sara Emerson, Nathan Evenson, Aviva Ezring, Michael Fabiano, Daniel Knaggs, John McLaughlin, Adrienne Webster, Maggie Wright
The School of Music acknowledges the generosity of McKinley Associates, Inc. whose support has helped make this production possible.
Summer; the forest in the afternoon – The animals play in the forest. The Forester, on his way home, stops for a nap. While he is asleep the Cricket and the Grasshopper make music. A young Frog, trying to catch a Mosquito, attracts the attention of a vixen cub. The Frog lands on the Forester, waking him. The Forester grabs the Vixen and takes her away. Dusk falls. The Blue Dragonflies search for the Vixen.
Autumn; the farmyard – The Vixen, now being reared as a pet, befriends the dog and rebuffs his advances. When she defends herself against the teasing of the Forester’s son and his friend, she is tied up. Night falls and the Vixen sleeps. In her dreams her spirit soars to freedom. At dawn the Vixen scoffs at the hens: they are exploited by humans and by their leader, the Rooster. The Vixen appeals in vain to the hens’ feminist feelings and, shocked at their conservatism, feigns suicide. Her plan has worked: when the Rooster is sent to investigate, she kills him, then polishes off all the hens. Confronted by the Forester and his wife, the Vixen bites through her rope and escapes.
Autumn; the forest in the late afternoon – The Vixen taunts the Badger, ruthlessly evicts him from his comfortable home and takes it over.
Winter; the Inn – The Forester, the Schoolmaster and the Priest play cards. The Forester mocks the Schoolmaster about his reticence and hopeless love for Terynka, a gypsy girl. But the Forester is also vulnerable to taunts: mocked about his Vixen, he leaves.
Autumn; the forest in the moonlight – As the Schoolmaster stumbles drunkenly home, the Vixen peeps out through some sunflowers. The Schoolmaster mistakes her for Terynka and pours his heart out. The Priest, also the worse for drink, catches sight of the Vixen and confuses her with a girl he was wrongly accused of seducing when he was young. The Forester takes both men by surprise and fires two shots after the Vixen.
Summer; the forest in the moonlight – The Vixen meets a handsome Fox and tells him the story of her life. The Fox woos her, they mate, and, having scandalized the gossiping birds, are married. The forest creatures celebrate.
Autumn; the forest at midday – Harasta, a poultry-seller, is about to pick up a dead hare when he sees the Forester, who suspects him of poaching it. Harasta explains that he is on his way to see Terynka, whom he is to marry. The Forester, realizing that the hare is one of the Vixen’s victims, uses it as a trap for her. The Vixen, the Fox and their cubs poke fun at the clumsily laid trap and the parents happily watch their growing family. Harasta returns to collect the hare. The Vixen lures him away so that the cubs can rifle his bag. But her gloating triumph at outwitting Harasta angers him and he shoots her.
The Inn – The Schoolmaster weeps when he hears that Terynka is to marry. He and the Forester both regret that the Priest has moved away. The Forester reflects on his age and sets off for the forest.
Summer; the forest in the afternoon – The Forester muses on the beauty of the forest, where life is continually renewed. He recalls his courtship and wedding. As he daydreams, the forest creatures appear, including a little vixen. The Forester tries to catch her but catches a Frog instead – grandson of the Frog who attracted the Vixen’s attention at the beginning of her adventures. Dropping his gun, the Forester surrenders to the forest.
— Royal National Opera