Theatre in Wales

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AN EVENING OF SHEER DELIGHT

The Cunning Little Vixen

Welsh National Opera , Wales Millennium Centre , October-05-19
The Cunning Little Vixen by Welsh National Opera Before you enter the auditorium be sure to visit the delightful Vixen’s Trail set up in the foyer of the theatre, a series of beautifully built and painted archways through which the vixen may have frolicked on her way on to the charming picture book, sylvan setting by Maria Bjørnson, who towards the end of the evening provides her own touch of humour and delight. We quickly know we are in for an evening of real enchantment.

Before we meet all these delightful animals we are given some startling ballet to savour. The studded silver of the dancer’s costume sparkling in the lights. The dancing was emulated by Joseph Doody’s Mosquto and the Dragonfly of Stefanos Dimoulas. They raised many a smile and set the note of charm that captivated us throughout this totally engaging performance.

The few ‘real’ people in this opera are very much subservient to the very large range of lively creatures. A tired forester, sung with little animation by Austrian baritone Claudio Otelli lies down to rest but we are quickly charmed by music from the Cricket, Logan Burrows and Caterpillar, Dylan Harding’s little concert, two of the many young children who decorated the stage.

Soon the vivacious vixen of award winning soprano Aoife Miskelly gives us a huge smile and charms us completely. Her foxy fur is an attractive dress of light brown fury feathers. She waves her long tail like a stole around her neck.

The forester catches her and takes her home but she’s a feisty lady/vixen. Although, now tied up she confronts four wobbly hens (More fun and delight) but not much help to our vixen so she kills them. A fluttering of feathers and she makes her get-away.

Now she needs a home. So she forces Laurence Cole’s cuddly Badger out of his but he doesn’t seems to complain too much. His garden contains very large flowers that are very useful for twirling around. We go to an Inn and find a schoolmaster and a priest, Wojtek Gierlach, at their beer. Schoolmaster, Peter Van Hulle does have a bit more liveliness in him. On his way home he encounters our cunning little friend and mistakes her for his own love. More charming exchanges follow.

Lucia Cervoni, a fine clear mezzo is a cool fox and very soon fox and vixen are happily married and it doesn’t take long before the stage is leaping with fox cubs. Again more charm and delight which is the keynote of this production.

But there is a little downbeat in the last act. The poacher, Harašta, (a fine performance by David Stout), shoots the vixen. We’ve lost her.

But not before we have enjoyed an evening of unimaginable charm and delight.


Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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