Inspired by a newspaper comic strip, WNO’s colourful production is charming, funny and profound in equal measure.
One afternoon deep in the forest, the Forester stumbles across a young vixen, and takes her home as a pet for his family. But this playful creature has bigger plans and escapes to take on the world on her own terms. As her adventure unfolds, all the creatures of the forest come to life, in a tale that celebrates the circle of life.
Inspired by a newspaper comic strip, WNO’s colourful production is charming, funny and profound in equal measure. It reunites Director, David Pountney with WNO Music Director, Tomáš Hanus who conducts Janáček’s blend of folk-like music and sophisticated orchestrations, gloriously evoking the vibrancy of nature.
It’s as if the music’s sheer life force bursts forth into dance, theatre and song
arguably Welsh National Opera's most beloved and enduring triumph
WNO Janáček Circle
Cast & Creative
The forest and animals breathe deeply in the heat of the afternoon. The Forester pauses for a nap on his way home, while the Cricket and the Caterpillar give a concert. A young Vixen, exploring the forest for the first time, is caught by the Forester, and taken home as a pet. She defends herself vigorously against the morose sexual advances of the Dog and the baiting of the Forester’s children, then is tied up for her pains. She dreams of sensual awakening and liberation. She then confronts the Forester and, having failed to convince the hens of the equality of women, she ruthlessly slaughters them and makes her escape.
The liberated Vixen returns to the forest and forcibly requisitions the Badger’s home, whipping up a storm of indignation in the process. At the inn, the Forester is taunted about the Vixen and rushes out in pursuit of her. The Vixen teases the Schoolmaster and the Parson as they stumble home. The Schoolmaster mistakes her for his love, Terynka, and the Parson recalls his encounter with a seductive young girl in his student days. The Vixen marries the Fox.
On his way to visit Terynka, Harašta, the poacher, finds a dead hare – one of the Vixen’s victims. The Forester warns him to stay off poaching and sets a trap for the Vixen. She and the Fox play with their cubs and ridicule the Forester’s incompetence. Harašta returns to pocket the hare. The Vixen outwits him at first, but is shot and dies. The Schoolmaster bitterly regrets his lost opportunity – Terynka is to marry Harašta today. The Forester however accepts his growing age and gladly sets out for a quiet stroll in the forest. He sleeps and dreams of the Vixen. A frog reminds him of the inevitable cycle of nature and he sleeps on, perhaps eternally, contented.