The Cunning Little Vixen @ Winston ★★★★


By Yasmin Inkersole, second year English

Strange, magical and captivating, Bristol Operatic Society brings accessible, feminist opera to the SU. The Cunning Little Vixen doesn't fail to impress.

Bristol Operatic Society / Olivia Younger

The Bristol Operatic Society is famous for its large-scale, impressively professional productions, such as last year’s Don Giovanni. But The Cunning Little Vixen is a radically different opera, with sexual politics, love and lust at the heart of the show. Set in a forest, the story follows the capture and escape of a young vixen by a selfish forester. The stage is constantly occupied by a myriad of funny and eye-catching animals, such as clucking chickens and nymph-like ballerinas. In particular, Lettie Lo’s portrayal of a tongue-flicking, cheek-puffing frog had the audience laughing.

(Bristol Operatic Society / Olivia Younger)

This opera by Leoš Janáček, a Czech composer, is no easy feat. The level of musical difficulty is exceptional, and the orchestra does an extraordinary job of the challenging score. The singers, including Oliver Bowes, the forester, are remarkably talented to the point that you easily forget this is a student production. The opera is also quite unique in its handling of issues such as feminism and homosexuality. The Vixen is a strong female lead, who while desiring love and intimacy is nonetheless fiercely independent and self-assured.

(Bristol Operatic Society / Olivia Younger)

There are, however, weaker moments of the show. At times Emily Braganza’s (the Vixen) voice did not rise over the orchestra, leading to some confusion among the audience as to what was happening on-stage. And while it was refreshing to see a same-sex relationship in an operatic performance, the intimacy between the Vixen and the Fox was not always convincing. However, Emily Khatib delivers an incredible performance as the Fox, and her vocal range and diction are astounding.

Bristol Operatic Soceity / Milo McAleny

This being said, The Cunning Little Vixen is a great student opera and well worth a £7 concession ticket. Whether you are going to support your friends in the show, to appreciate the singing and music, or perhaps to see your first opera, the BOPS performances never fail to impress. The thought and care put into the show, from the set and costumes to the music, is evident. The originality of Janáček’s work makes it a fantastic opera to see for those with or without any experience of the genre.


(Featured image credits: Bristol Operatic Society / Olivia Younger)

Have you seen The Cunning Little Vixen? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

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