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  • Janácek - The Cunning Little Vixen / Nicholas Hytner · Sir Charles Mackerras · Thomas Allen · Eva Jenis · Tháâtre du Chatelet
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Janácek - The Cunning Little Vixen / Nicholas Hytner · Sir Charles Mackerras · Thomas Allen · Eva Jenis · Tháâtre du Chatelet


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Janácek - The Cunning Little Vixen / Nicholas Hytner · Sir Charles Mackerras · Thomas Allen · Eva Jenis · Tháâtre du Chatelet + Janacek - The Makropulos Case / Davis, Silja, Begley, Glyndebourne Festival Opera
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Product Details

  • Actors: Thomas Allen, Eva Jenis, Hana Minutillo, Libuse Márová, Ivan Kusnjer
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Leos Janácek, Rudolf Tesnohlídek
  • Producers: Colin Wilson, Jane Seymour, Nina Freund
  • Format: Anamorphic, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JN2W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,031 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Janácek - The Cunning Little Vixen / Nicholas Hytner · Sir Charles Mackerras · Thomas Allen · Eva Jenis · Tháâtre du Chatelet" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

There is no other opera quite like The Cunning Little Vixen, which was inspired by a comic strip and presents episodes in the life of a female fox, Sharp-Ears, from her childhood through captivity, escape, maturity, childbearing, old age, and violent death, making way for a new generation. There is a fine balance of cute and funny elements and hard-edged realism in the story, which combines human and animal characters, with several singers doubling animal and human roles. Under a Walt Disneyish surface, the opera reflects deeply on the continuity of life, its beauty and conflicts. The music is bright, energetic, and endowed with an often ethereal beauty. Sir Charles Mackerras, generally recognized as the ultimate Janácek conductor of our time, gives his usual first-class performance, aided by a well-selected cast and important contributions by director Nicholas Hytner and designer Bob Crowley.

Sharp-Ears is not only cuddly and anthropomorphic, attuned to nature, capable of love, and even maternal, she is also clever, mischievous, and utterly unscrupulous, willing to massacre a whole flock of chickens when the opportunity arrives. In short, one of opera's great, ambiguous female characters and one of the most difficult to portray. Eva Jenis does a marvelous job, as do Hana Mutillo as her foxy lover and Thomas Allen in the leading human role. Some of the music's best moments are wordless, as might be expected in an opera with more animals than humans in its cast. Much of the production's attraction depends on the dancers, costumed as a dog, a frog, a mosquito, chickens, dragonflies, etc. Being danced by humans, these varied species are all of roughly the same size, but clever costuming makes their identities generally clear. Particularly impressive is a mosquito who has a red-tipped hypodermic needle for a nose. --Joe McLellan

Additional Features

Leos Janácek's opera is conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras and produced by Nicholas Hytner. Sung in the original Czech.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Not the most up to date video or audio but very acceptable.
Boston Jack
This is a highly entertaining opera and for those unfamiliar with Janacek, it's a perfect place to start.
eureka treasures
There are two DVD productions of The Cunning Little Vixen, both well worth viewing and hearing.
Giordano Bruno

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By David Herter on March 24, 2000
Format: DVD
Unknown to most opera goers, Janacek's brilliant fable reverses most of the genre's liabilities. There is no bombast; the plot moves quickly, the libretto -- cobbled together by the composer from a newspaper comic strip -- is touching, deft and profound; and the only diva in sight is shot long before the finale. The opera doesn't need excessive fancy, which this production sometimes supplies in overabundance, and the work's dark tone, its grounding in rural Moravian peasant life, is negated by the somewhat flouncy presentation and a poor translation that elicits laughter in the wrong places -- a much better English version exists. It's also unfortunate that the chorus is moved off-stage to favor dancers, which reduces the rollicking climax to the wedding scene (of course, Janacek himself had so often used off-stage choruses to memorable effect, but here the bustle of voices is needed). Nonetheless, this cyrstalline DVD (some of the images nearly convince us we're in a theater) gives us Thomas Allen as the ideal Forester, the great Czech singer Richard Novak as the Badger/Parson, mostly vivid set designs and colors, a rousing performance by Janacek expert Charles Mackerras, and the compact perfection of the opera itself. Now if only From the House of the Dead, Kat'ya Kabanova, Osud, and the rest of Janacek's singular operas would be released.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By eureka treasures on August 26, 2004
Format: DVD
This is a highly entertaining opera and for those unfamiliar with Janacek, it's a perfect place to start. The opera is playful, comic, mysterious, and in the end it is surprisingly moving. This is a lovely production and it has been produced with wit and imagination. The wonderful choreography is fully integrated into the action and adds an extra dimension to the work. Thomas Allen gives a sensitive reading as the gamekeeper. But the real star of the evening is Eva Jemis who gives an uninhibited and bravura performance as the vixen. My favorite scene was the "pickup" scene in which the vixen loses her virginity. The foxy couple goes through a rather anthropomorphic variation of animal courtship that is frightfully realistic and quite funny. This is Disney for grown-ups and maybe the kids as well. I was enthralled throughout this DVD and hopefully you will be too!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2000
Format: DVD
This is a beautifully produced and sung production of a seldom-seen opera--not as fine an opera as The Makropulos Case, perhaps, but still very worthwhile if you love, or even just like, Janacek. Aside from Thomas Allen (the gamekeeper), the cast was unfamiliar to me; Eva Jenis is a wonderful vixen. Recorded in high definition tv, so visually the quality is much better than most of the opera DVDs released so far.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Noam Eitan on December 31, 1999
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This opera is for those who are tired of the standard repertoire. I was attracted to the Decca recording of this opera on discs, with Lucia Popp, because it was so unusual (cartoon animal and human characters, episodic anti-romantic story). Even though I found it highly intriguing, I could not sustain my concentration beyond the first act. I was attracted to this DVD because I was curious how the animal roles could be staged. The real stars here are Director Nicholas Hytner and Bob Crowley's vividly colorful sets. Some scenes are genuinely funny (the vixen killing the chicken). Even though I sustained concentration through two acts out of three, this is a very unique (and rare) production, of the kind you will rarely see in any opera house. Technically excellent, a strong buy recommendation (only 4 stars out of caution - try any other piece by Janacek first to see if you warm up to it).
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