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

Legend’s daughter has embraced musical role
PM joins calls to scrap train timetable
Dr Foster episode being filmed in Henley
Henley homeless man refuses help
Please smile, don’t mourn and think of me with a glass of wine
Museum cafe operator resigns
Henley living bringing calm to comedian Brand
Motorcyclist injured near Watlington
Rowing scholarships are still up for grabs
Shape the course of your life at The Piggott School
Cabinet-maker turns the tables with design
Autumn offer on Stihl blower
Ninety-plus science activities to enjoy
Lego building can inspire creativity
Tangled tale is group’s newest pantomime
Pamper yourself with spa living
With multiple design improvements on tap, bathrooms are better than ever
Plumbers have leading brands on display
Stonor has lots of Halloween pumpkin fun in store
Flavours of Buenos Aires in the heart of Henley
Latest Video View more from   Henley Standard TV
'Fire-breathing dragon' ends pothole misery
Henley set for starring role in whodunnit novel
Rock band returns to former college
Curry night raises thousands for charity
Crowds enjoy fireworks display
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