The Cunning Little Vixen, premièred in Brno in 1924, is by Janáček the Czech composer. His other operas included Jenůfa, Kát’a Kabanová, The Makropulos Case and an opera based on Dostoyevsky’s novel From the House of the Dead.
The fox Goldenstripe seduces the vixen Bytrouška, Sharp-Ears. She outwits the forester but is shot by a tramp.
Animals and insects, including a badger, a dog, a frog, crickets, caterpillars, mosquitos, a Dragonfly, Owl, Jay and Woodpecker, stand proxy for human beings, such as the forester, innkeeper, priest, and schoolmaster. Janáček encountered all these near Hukvaldy, his birthplace.
This is not a pantomime. The moral of this fable, which moves between the forest and the pub garden, concerns mortality, the procreation and rejuvenation which occurs in the animal kingdom normality of death and the cycle of. Children mime and dance the parts of animals, like the insects. Hens and flies portray the proletariat and take collective action to support equality and feminism. Capitalists like the Badger are defeated.
Inspired by the sound of Moravian folksongs, speech melody and, for example, Debussy’s La Mer, Janáček developed a unique musical style in Western European music. His works were promoted by the conductor Charles Mackerras.