This contemporary version of Leoš Janáček’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen is filled with sharp and engaging performances, but the production comes across as messy and incomplete.
There is no doubting Silent Opera’s ability to completely immerse audiences into their production of Vixen, presented with plenty of creativity and sharp performances – particularly from Rosie Lomas as Vixen herself. But it feels as though it is lacking intensity and energy, particularly in the climatic scenes.
Set in London, the story follows Vixen through the triumphs and joy of her life such as falling in love to the trials and tribulations of being homeless to fight for her independence. This is a radically different interpretation of the original opera (from what I have read) and this production seems particularly brutal and blunt, but lacks in clarity in terms of the story, which seems to get muddled from time to time.
But what Daisy Evans offers instead is an incredibly feisty heroine in the form of Vixen, played with great passion and intensity by Rosie Lomas. Lomas is sufficiently wild and temperamental just like her character suggests and in much evidence when she attacks the Forester in his own home. Vocally she has a sweetness of tone that suggests a vulnerability to her character as well which is pleasing to listen to.
Another strength of the production is the way in which the main focus is the music, which seeps through the headphones that the audience wear throughout, offering each individual audience member a very intimate performance.
Unfortunately though the tragic climatic moments feel underpowered, lacking in intensity or enough drama to make a huge impact. It is cleverly put together, but it just feels slightly unfinished overall.
Silent Opera are to be applauded for the way in which they attempt to engage new audiences into the world of opera in a new way – but this time it doesn’t quite pay off.