The Cunning Little Vixen, 2014
Vixen Claire Booth
Forester Grant Doyle
Harašta Joshua Bloom
Schoolmaster Timothy Robinson
Priest Henry Waddington
Conductor Garry Walker
Director Daniel Slater
Designer Robert Innes Hopkins
Garsington Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Children's Chorus
The Forester stops off on his way home and falls asleep. A Cricket and a Grasshopper appear, then a young Vixen approaches. Suddenly awoken by a Frog, the Forester sees the fox cub. He captures her and decides to take her home.
The Vixen has grown up in the Forester’s house, where life is hard: the Forester’s Wife hates her, the dog Lapák makes disgusting advances and the children mistreat her. When the Vixen takes revenge on a child, the Wife demands that the Vixen be tied up. In the middle of the night, half asleep, half awake, the Forester imagines a relationship with a beautiful young woman.
Reality returns at dawn. Horrified to witness the Hens’ submission to the desires of the male chauvinist Cock, the Vixen tries to incite a revolution, but in vain. So she fakes her own death, tricks the Cock and kills him. The Forester threatens to shoot the Vixen, but she slaughters all the Hens and escapes.
The Vixen looks for a home in the forest. Finding the Badger’s lair to her taste, she kicks him out and takes up residence.
At the pub, the Forester, the Priest and the Schoolmaster play cards. The Forester teases the Schoolmaster about his love life. The Schoolmaster responds with mocking references to the Vixen. The Priest inveighs against all women. When the landlord raises the subject of the Vixen, the Forester storms off.
On the way back, the drunken Schoolmaster sees the Vixen, takes her to be Terynka, the woman he loves, and pours out his heart. The Priest arrives, and the sight of the Vixen evokes an unhappy love story from his youth. The last to turn up is the Forester, still in pursuit of the Vixen. Spotting her, he fires his gun, but she again escapes.
The Vixen meets a Fox: they fall in love and spend the night together. The following morning, the Vixen is shocked to discover she is pregnant. So the Fox takes her to the Woodpecker, who marries them. A big party ensues.
The poacher Harašta, out hunting, meets the Forester, who grows angry when he hears of Harašta’s imminent marriage to Terynka. Discovering a dead Hare, the Forester realises the Vixen is nearby and prepares a trap. But she, accompanied by her cubs, laughs at the foolish trick. Coming across the Vixen, Harašta fights her, and shoots her dead. The Forester stumbles across the body.
Back in the pub, the Forester and the Schoolmaster talk to the landlady about the Priest, who has moved to another parish. They also discuss Terynka, who will marry wearing a new fox-fur muff...
On his way back, the Forester reflects on his life, his youth and his marriage. When he sees a fox cub, closely resembling the young Vixen he once possessed, he wonders whether he should capture her and take her home.