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Janacek’s Little Vixen comes to the Barbican – with no furry costumes

20 June, 2019 — By Michael White

Sir Simon Rattle. Photo: Mark Allan

WHENEVER Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra team up with stage director Peter Sellars the result is something off-the-wall but special. And it will be nothing less when they join forces for a semi-staging of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen at the Barbican next week.

An opera in which half the characters are animals, Vixen is sometimes done in a cartoon-like, cutesy way as though it were a piece for children; and the score does have an endearing tunefulness that’s not hard for children to absorb.

But at the same time it’s a tough, unsentimental fable about life, death, and the turning cycle of existence. And there’s unlikely to be too much sentimentality at the Barbican, since I recall Simon Rattle saying that he happily agreed with Sellars’ idea to do the piece “so long as there’d be no furry costumes on stage”.

It plays two nights, Thursday 27th and Saturday 29th, 7.30pm, tickets from £25.

Barbican Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS, 020 7638 8891,

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