‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ Pokes Her Head Into An Animated Forest
May 17, 2014
Now, operatic excess and computer-generated imagery are meeting on an Ohio stage as the Cleveland Orchestra reanimates Czech composer Leos Janácek‘s 1924 opera, The Cunning Little Vixen.
In the opening scene, the vixen spots something she’s never seen before — a frog — and asks, “What is that?” The opera’s director, Yuval Sharon, says he can relate.
“I think that’s kind of how I first responded to opera when I was a kid: ‘What is that weird thing?'” Sharon recalls. “Sometimes fascination is the best entry point.”
Sharon is trying to create some fascination in his production by having the bodies of the fox, the frog, a mosquito and other creatures animated on three giant video screens. The singing comes from actual human beings in animal masks, who stick their heads through portals in one of the screens from backstage. The director says the production design dates back to his childhood — and a summer memory.
“A cardboard cut-out that you see at the beach — where you stick your head through and it looks like your body has become a muscle guy’s body, or this woman in a bikini’s body — everyone takes delight in that,” Sharon says. “And I thought that could be the kernel of a really interesting theatrical experience.”