Manhattan School of Music presents a cunning little Vixen.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
|Right before the feathers fly: the Vixen Sharp-Ears (Shantal Martin, foreground)|
gets ready to ravage a chorus of chickens. Photo courtesty Manhattan School of Music.
Adaptations of cartoons and comics as popular entertainment are now commonplace in popular culture. A hundred years ago, that form of entertainment was opera, and it was Moravian composer Leoš Janáček who had the idea of taking a popular children's comic strip from a Brno paper and making it into an opera. Příhody lišky Bystroušky (literally "The Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears", also known as "The Cunning Little Vixen" was way ahead of its time. On Thursday night, the Senior Opera Theater of Manhattan School of Music unveiled a new bare-bones staging of this challenging three-act opera (sung in English) with a cast of young singers applying themselves to recreating the woodland fantasy of this vivid, vital opera.