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Janacek - The Cunning Little Vixen

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jukka Rasilainen, Michele Lagrange, David Kuebler, Roland Bracht, Paul Gay, Elena Tsallagova, and Hannah Esther Minutillo star in this Opera national de Paris production of the Janacek opera conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Elena Tsallagova, Jukka Rasilainen, Michele Lagrange, Hannah Esther Minutillo, David Kuebler
  • Directors: Andre Engel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Czech (Dolby Digital 5.1), Czech (DTS 5.1), Czech (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001U1L9O4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,367 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

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It's so darned cute it's spoiled! Can an opera that has animals as singing characters, based on a cartoon, be TOO cute? You betcha it can! Especially when the staging is shallow and static, the costumes look like Halloween get-ups, and the humans are all portrayed as witless clowns.

The Cunning Little Vixen is a symphonic poem shaped as an opera, so let's start with the Orchestra of the Opera National de Paris, conducted by Dennis R Davies. They're wimpy! They play the whole score as colorful sound effects. They nver catch the sweeping grandeur of Janacek's paean to nature. They don't get it. Besides, the orchestra and chorus are never musically integrated and acoustically balanced. If this were a CD, one would throw it away.

Next, the wild animals. The decision to use children - cute little amateurs at that - instead of dancers is a disaster. The children stand or stumble around the shallow stage without any sense of the vivacity of their animal beings, as expressed in the musical score. They look like they're presenting a school pageant. A few of them are required to sing, but don't have the voices to impinge their roles on the orchestral score. The close-ups of their charming little faces are distracting and nothing more.

Then, the domestic animals. Costumes and blocking are both just for the laughs, though I didn't hear any laughs among the small group of friends who watched this DVD with me. The chickens were embarrassingly stodgy in movement. The old dog, an important singing role, had no wistful sadness about him. No yearning to be wild. Director Andre Engel just didn't get it!

Worst of all, the Forester, the central role. Here he isn't a forester at all, but some kind of besotted oaf of a railroad stationmaster.
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After hearing the overture of cunning little vixen at a concert and watching from the house of the dead, I really wanted to get a dvd of this opera, but wasnt really satisfied with the productions available before this one. I got this dvd as soon as it came out on amazon and I have to say that I am really fond of it. The costumes and the stage design are amazingly effective for what the director tried to convey. Most of the characters in this opera are animals, but instead of just letting the performers act as the animal they are supposed to portrait, he asked them to also display the human character that is associated with each animal in the plot. Janacek's music is just great and reminds me more of film music rather than opera. The acting as well as the singing (which doesnt play that much of a role in this opera, I think) of all the main characters is amazing. All of them manage to convey their roles really believable and entertaining.
I think it is a very engaging production, very cute and suitable for children, but nontheless with an interesting, or even philosophical storyline.
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