Photo Journal: Houston Grand Opera's Cunning Little Vixen

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Houston Grand Opera's Cunning Little Vixen
Leos Janšcek's operas tend to have tormented heroines: Jenufa gets knocked up by the ne'er-do-well she loves and cut in the face by the resentful young man who loves her; Katya Kabanovš is driven to suicide over guilt at her adulterous affair; Emilia Marty (n_e Elina Makropoulos) is 337 years old and trying desperately to find the potion that will extend her life further.

Then there's the title character of The Cunning Little Vixen, which opened Friday night (May 4) at Houston Grand Opera. This she-fox is trapped by a forester and taken to a farm, foments rebellion among the hens and escapes to the woods, drives a badger out of his den so that she can move in, marries a fox and has more children than they can count, and finally gets shot by a poacher and made into a muff.

Soprano Lisa Saffer plays the eponymous heroine (so to speak), Vixen Sharp-Ears, with mezzo Fiona Murphy as her mate, Fox Golden-Stripe, baritone Hector Všsquez as the Forester, bass Bradley Garvin as the Parson, and a whole flock of singers as animals and country folk.

Leslie Halla directs Chas Rader-Shieber's production from Lyric Opera of Chicago, with brightly colored sets and costumes designed by David Zinn. On the podium is company music director Patrick Summers, conducting the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Children's Chorus.

Houston Grand Opera's The Cunning Little Vixen receives three more performances at the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston: tomorrow, May 11 and May 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and information are available at

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All photos by Andrew Cloud for Houston Grand Opera.

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