Scottish Opera and the RSAMD stage production of The Cunning Little Vixen
- Carol Main
- 14 January 2011
Janácek’s opera filled with perpetual themes of life, death and love
Building on collaborative achievements of the past few years, Scottish Opera and the RSAMD now turn to Janácek’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen. Set in a forest, its characters are both animal and human. Inspired by a comic strip from a newspaper, it’s not so funny when the vixen becomes a fox fur wedding present. Composed when the 70 year-old Janácek was smitten by a woman less than half his age, the opera is reflective of his own situation and the perpetual themes of life, death and love.
In reviving David Pountney’s Scottish Opera/Welsh National Opera’s co-production from 1980, the cast features three singers from Scottish Opera’s Emerging Artists Programme. RSAMD graduate singers are given a year of full-time work to help kickstart their careers. Rebecca Afonwy-Jones sings the part of the fox, having had hardly any time to draw breath since playing the title role in a Carmen which toured the length and breadth of the country. ‘It’s been quite a few months for me,’ she says, ‘especially as Carmen is at the bottom of my range and the fox is at the top. But I’m in love with Janácek and although it’s a really tough sing, it’s glorious music.’
The orchestra is a mix of Scottish Opera professionals and RSAMD students, with solo parts given to the Emerging Artists and singers from the Opera School. ‘It’s a terrific opportunity for your career,’ says Afonwy-Jones, ‘as you wouldn’t get these big roles otherwise. It makes you more employable.’ With the wide range of experience offered by the Emerging Artists Programme, singers who are part of it are ready for anything, although, as Afonwy-Jones says, ‘the irony is we’re working so much that we don’t really have time to go to auditions for what we’re going to do next!’
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 21, Sat 22 Jan; Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Thu 27, Sat 29 Jan