The cast, crew, and creative team behind The Cunning Little Vixen, the Leoš Janáček opera presented in fall 2022 by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Department of Voice and University Symphony Orchestra, recently earned first place in Division VI in the 2022–23 National Opera Association (NOA) Opera Production Competition.
Each year, NOA holds this competition with the goal of “encouraging and rewarding creative, high-quality opera productions at academic institutions and music conservatories.” Entrants are placed in ascending divisions – from I to VIII – based on whether the cast members are predominantly undergraduate or graduate students, and based on the production’s overall size and budget.
Led by a creative team including Tara Faircloth (stage director, SMTD guest artist), Kirk Severtson (music director/conductor, SMTD professor of music), Cameron Anderson (scenic designer, SMTD guest artist), Sarah M. Oliver (costume designer, SMTD assistant professor of theatre & drama), and Rob Murphy (lighting designer, former SMTD associate professor of theatre & drama), the production was praised by judges for its exceptional vocal performances, scenic design, lighting, and performance of the challenging score.
The production of The Cunning Little Vixen also included ballet sequences performed by students from the Department of Dance and choreographed by Amy Chavasse, professor of dance. The judges noted the dancers’ substantial contribution to the production, commending the ways their movements echoed the opera’s musical themes. The judges also applauded the cast’s mastery of Czech diction, the result of coaching by Timothy Cheek, professor of music in the Department of Voice and an authority on Czech vocal music.
Severtson additionally earned honors for conducting another production of The Cunning Little Vixen, presented by the Manhattan School of Music. That production earned first place in Division VIII.
Visit the National Opera Association website for the full list of winners in the Opera Production Competition. For complete details and media from SMTD’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen, check out the digital version of the program.