Leoš Janáček: The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen (Arranger: Jonathan Dove)

Leoš Janáček The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen
The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček: The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen (Arranger: Jonathan Dove)

Year of composition:
1922-1923
Subtitle:
Opera in 3 acts
Version:
reduced version
Composer:
Leoš Janáček
Arranger:
Jonathan Dove (1998)
Text author:
Rudolf Tesnohlidek
Original language:
Czech
Translator:
Norman Tucker
Librettist:
Leoš Janáček
Roles:
Forester, baritone Forester's wife, alto Schoolmaster, tenor Parson (Badger), bass Haraschta (vagabond), bass Vixen, soprano Fox, soprano The young vixen, children's soprano a couple of smaller parts (ballet)
Choir:
gemischter Chor - SATB Kinderchor - SA
Instrumentation:
1 1 1 1 - 2 1 1 0 - perc, hp, acc, str.quin
Instrumentation details:
flute (+picc)
oboe (+cor anglais)
clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
bassoon (+cbsn)
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
trumpet in Bb
trombone
percussion
harp
accordion (+cel
keyb)
1st violin
2nd violin
viola (+vln)
violoncello
contrabass
Duration:
110’
More Less

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

The tale of the free-thinking and crafty vixen Bystrouška goes back to the 1890s. In the beginning were the tiny sketches of the painter and forester Stanislav Lolek (1873–1936), a distinguished landscape artist. The story of Bystrouška was serialized in Lidové noviny from 7 April to 23 June 1920 and had a huge success. The merry and immediately accessible drawings with a witty and topical text found a readership throughout the entire social spectrum. It is certainly true that Janáček began considering composing an opera on this theme since he acquired cuttings of all the episodes in Lidové noviny. And in fact, as soon as Janáček completed the work on Katja Kabanowa he immediately started on Das schlaue Füchslein. The dates on the autograph show that he began composition as early as January 1922. The author of the literary model Těsnohlídek got the news only indirectly that Janáček wanted to compose an opera on his text. The composer himself invited him to come and see him at the time when he was already working on the opera.

Meanwhile Janáček composed, and started out on his study of nature to a whole series of bird notations – of thrushes, sparrows, finches and blackbirds. He wrote down notations for doves, a little toad, and a frog with the instrumental comment ‘like a xylophone’. He also noticed animals and took down in his notebook his impressions of walks in the game reserve, where the forester even tracked down a vixen’s den with young so that the composer could observe and study them. No wonder that several of Janáček’s newspaper reviews in Lidové noviny in the years 1921– 1922 had animal motifs.

Meanwhile frantic negotiations broke out over who would publish the composer’s latest work. As in the case of Jenůfa, Die Ausflüge des Herrn Brouček and Katja Kabanowa, interest was shown essentially by two publishers: Hudební matice in Prague and Universal Edition in Vienna. The first to approach the composer was Hudební matice, but, as before, Janáček used this offer rather as a tactic to firm up his dealings with Universal Edition. The contract with Universal Edition was signed between March and April 1924.

The celebrated world premiere of the opera Příhody lišky Bystroušky (Die Abenteuer des Füchsleins Schlaukopf) took place in the Brno theatre Na Hradbách on 6 November 1924. The reception was tremendous and the composer himself was happy with the staging by Ota Zítek and the set design by Eduard Milén (who also designed the cover of the piano vocal score).

The composer himself characterized the opera as a forest idyll, one that would awaken the notion of the unity of life – both human and animal.

Special prints

The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček: The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen

study score
, 110’
Instr.: 1 1 1 1 - 2 1 1 0 - perc, hp, acc, str.quin

The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček: The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears; The Cunning Little Vixen

full score
, 110’
Instr.: 1 1 1 1 - 2 1 1 0 - perc, hp, acc, str.quin

World première

Location:
Birmingham
Date:
31.03.1998
Conductor:
Simon Halsey

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