Henley Standard Property


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 Jancek’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.

Jancek’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


Trevor Howell

PUBLISHED 07/07/14

Man exposed himself in children's playground
Former primary head to stand trial
Grandfather crushed to death by wife's car
Landlords bid fond farewell to pub
Cash boost for children's centre pool revamp
New hospital with no beds
Pub set to re-open with pizza oven
Uri Geller donates sculpture to Sonning
New Shogun drives like it’s an old friend
Should you let properties furnished or unfurnished?
Take the experts’ advice... step up your kerb appeal
‘Walkie Talkie’ wins the Carbuncle Cup
£100k London garden sells for £1.25million
Hamptons runners help raise £28,000 for cancer research
Bald is beautiful for Romans colleagues
Blue Coat sixth form is dynamic... because it needs to be
Small classes allow individuals to fulfil their potential
Nurturing is at the heart of it all
Museum’s got fun in store for under-fives
Swans awaiting the arrival of pirate ship
Latest Video View more from   Henley Standard TV
Geller accused of bending the rules
Grandfather crushed to death by wife's car
Autumn sun shines on 124th ploughing match
John Howell MP completes constituency tour
Pumpkin too big for scales at charity sale
Top Videos
Most Popular
Higgs Group
Tel: 01491 419400
Tel: 01491 419419
Tel: 01491 149429
Tel: 01491 419499
Tel: 01491 419449
  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