The Cunning Little Vixen

‘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.”


Jonas Kaufmann On Wagner: ‘It’s Like A Drug Sometimes’

Jonas Kaufmann On Wagner: ‘It’s Like A Drug Sometimes’
February 16, 2013

Very often, you have texts that can be interpreted in different ways, depending on where you put the stress, or where you put the pause.
It’s very sad when you have to perform something in a language that you don’t speak and that you don’t understand at all, so you just have to follow always what your teacher or coach told you to do, and you get stuck with one certain interpretation.

“Wagner had a tendency to actually invent things — to invent words — because he had these ideas, he had these rhymes and phrases that he wanted to fit to each other perfectly.
Sometimes, he didn’t have an adequate word to finish a phrase, or in other occasions he didn’t have enough time or music to express what he really wanted the audience to know.
So therefore he invented combination words, to squeeze as much information into a single phrase as possible.”

Measures Of Affection: Five Musical Love Letters
by Tom Huizenga
February 13, 2013
Pablo Neruda: Cien sonetos de amor. Santiago, Editorial Universitaria, 1959