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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Opera Rewind: Foxy, Foxy

New York City Opera's classic The Cunning Little Vixen.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Frame grab of The Cunning Little Vixen with Gianna Rolandi in the title role of "Sharp-Ears."
Image © 1983 Live From Lincoln Center/New York City Opera.
Presented purely here for the dual purpose of nostalgia and education, this is a video of the New York City Opera's classic Maurice Sendak production of Leos Janacek's magical opera The Cunning Little Vixen. (Which will never be seen again as the sets and props were dumped at the company's auction over the winter.)


This magnificent performance filmed in 1983 for a Live in Lincoln Center special features the Sendak production in all of its comic glory, from the bloated chickens to the barely controlled furry antics of Sharp-Ears and Golden-Stripe in the comic Czech answer to Tristan und Isolde. 

I grew up going to the City Opera but never sawVixen...until a one-time revival of the show in the 1990s. Maurice Sendak did a number of productions for the company, including Oliver Knussen's opera Where the Wild Things Are, Prokofiev's The Love For Three Oranges and a double-bill of Maurice Ravel's one-act operas L'Heure Espagnole and L'Enfant et les Sortileges. I saw all of these at the building that used to be the company's home, the former New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.

Anyway, it's on YouTube in all of its foxy glory. Wait 'til you see what happens to those chickens at about 25 minutes in.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.