Henley Standard Property
HOME

Date:

Order your copy Advertise with us! HENLEY PAGES
Delivering the news from Henley on Thames and South Oxfordshire for over 100 years
  News     Sport    Celebrity   What's On Regulars Community Info Henley Standard TV Lifestyle Property Jobs Classifieds Gallery Trade
                               Follow us    Follow us    Newsfeed Search the Henley Standard  
Foxy tale sparkles with wicked wit
Published 07/07/14





ON arrival at Getty’s magnificent Wormsley Estate it takes little time for working day tensions to evaporate in preparation for an evening of quality opera. Last Wednesday’s performance was perfectly prefaced by a sun-filled sky, balmy air and clouds in bizarre formations... and “bizarre” is the word that most accurately conveys what was to follow on stage.

One of the intriguing facets of Janácek’s opera is the boundary between animals and humans. The plot revolves around the lovely vixen Bystrouska and her relationship with the Forester, starting with her adoption by him as a child, her maturity into adult beauty, her demise at the hands of the poacher Hara?ta and, going full circle, the Forester’s discovery of her fox cub — her spitting image. Good and evil, happiness and sadness all coalesce in the final scenes.

Daniel Slater’s production was witty and outrageously licentious. Sheer comedy came in the form of a clutch of chickens played by women frenetically knitting identical red sweaters, sporting red rubber gloves on their heads and mimicking the hens’ jerky movements. At least one of them succumbs to the rapacious cockerel’s charms.

The three incarnations of the red-headed vixen were well cast and barely distinguishable from one another. The vixen’s slinky mannerisms were brilliantly simulated by the adult Bystrouska, played by soprano Claire Booth. Her singing was of matching quality, especially when asking: “Am I really so beautiful?” as she fell muzzle-over-paws in love with the Fox, whom she later marries in a ceremony officiated by the larger-than-life Woodpecker. The male (soprano Victoria Simmons) was convincingly portrayed, as was the Forester (baritone Grant Doyle). That the cast were able to sing in Czech is to be applauded.


Part of the work’s appeal is that it is highly balletic, the elements of dream and the sub-conscious depicted in dance and set alongside real-life alter egos to symbolise the work’s pervasive duality. The routines were erotic, as in the enactment of the Forester’s relationship with the young vixen, and later the foxes’ love-making.

Janácek’s composition was as arcane and varied as the plot, offering a rich seam of moods and texture. The orchestration was shot through with vivid onomatopoeia, mimicking the sounds of the woodland animal world. The orchestra, under conductor Garry Walker, gave an exemplary performance. A rapturous reception by the appreciative audience was well-deserved.

The Cunning Little Vixen

Garsington Opera

Wednesday, June 25

www.garsingtonopera.org

Trevor Howell

PUBLISHED 07/07/14



 
MOST POPULAR
New plan for family archive at Friar Park
Homeless man leaves Henley
Motorcyclist killed in lorry collision
Shops for sale
Woman switched labels to claim refunds
River legacy behind winning Christmas card
The Station House re-opens
Doc Martin stars at Dorchester Abbey concert
 
 
LATEST LIFESTYLE HEADLINES
Giving your child an unrivalled start to their education
Leading the way in nurture during the key early years
Fifty years on, nursery is friendly, caring and quality
Logging children’s daily achievements
Set sail with Hobbs to see Santa
Set meals for two or more to take away
Craft exhibition at gallery has a range of ‘one off’ gifts on offer
Year sevens enjoy extensive opportunities
Porsche 911 offers a turbocharged driving experience
Turn your bathroom into your sanctuary
Ligier will be at NEC
Handmade festive chocolates are too good to eat
Latest Video View more from   Henley Standard TV
ADVERTISE WITH US
LATEST NEWS HEADLINES
Living Advent Day 5: Down by the Riverside
Local firms behind Sue Ryder minibus donation
Plans for third Chelsea Fringe announced
Santa Sleigh visiting Henley this week
Hospice helped me cope with losing parents
Top Videos
 
Most Popular
 
 
 
 
Higgs Group
HIGGS GROUP
Tel: 01491 419400
www.higgsgroup.co.uk
HENLEY PAGES
Tel: 01491 419419
www.henleypages.com
HIGGS PRINTING & DESIGN
Tel: 01491 149429
www.higgsprinitng.co.uk
HIGGS OFFICE SUPPLIES
Tel: 01491 419499
www.higgsofficesupplies.co.uk
HENLEY LIFE MAGAZINE
Tel: 01491 419449
www.henleylife.co.uk
  HIGGS GROUP, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AD. Telephone (01491) 419400  
© Higgs & Co (Printing) Limited 2012  |  Registered in England number 1418717