Cleveland Orchestra to Present Leos Janacek's THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, 5/17-24
Music Director Franz Welser-Möst continues his emphasis on operatic and choral repertoire with a compelling new production of Leos Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen, performed with The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall May 17-24. Presented with innovative and original animation, this world premiere production explores the depths of human experience in a charming tale of love, peril, freedom, and family. On the surface, the opera's story is about childish things, but underneath, human emotions boil over and burst apart between the "animals of the forest" and their human interlocutors.
Director Yuval Sharon - the critically acclaimed director of Invisible Cities in Los Angeles, which was recently named a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist in music - along with Bill Barminski and Christopher Louie of Walter Robot Studios, have crafted a digital world where the human heads of singers blend with animated animal bodies on three 26-foot screens in Severance Hall. Welser-Möst describes it as the rarely found "uncompromising" artistic experience - for the musicians, the creative team, and, ultimately, for audiences.
The opera's starring role, portrayed for Cleveland by favorite Czech soprano Martina Jarková, wends her way through life's cycles of learning and danger, love and happiness. Janá?ek's score from 1924 mixes lyrical symphonic writing with intriguing rhythmic touches, lovingly combined with the songful serenity and energetic pulse of Moravian folk music. The international cast also features bass-baritone Alan Held and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, bass Raymond Aceto, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne, bass-baritone Dashon Burons, and tenor David Cangelosi.
The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus also join the cast for the production. The projection and lighting design is by Jason Thompson, with costumes by Ann Closs-Farley, and masks by Cristina Waltz.