The Cunning Little Vixen

Be transported to the forest and follow the beautifully touching tale of the vixen, Sharp Ears.

For the first time the passionate and vibrant music of Janáček comes to West Australian Opera with The Cunning Little Vixen. This opera reflects on the nature of life, the cycle of birth and death, and the connection between the world of humans and animals.

The Cunning Little Vixen is profound theatre, an enchanting experience to be enjoyed by the whole family in a new production designed by Richard Roberts and Roger Kirk and directed by Stuart Maunder under the baton of conductor Johannes Fritzsch. One of the great masterpieces of early twentieth century music, this rarely-heard opera will be staged for four performances only. Suitable for ages 9+.

Presented by arrangement with Victorian Opera.

“The Cunning Little Vixen was Janácek’s personal valentine to the human condition in all its inexplicable, maddening, fierce and beautiful inconsistency.”

– Stuart Maunder, Director


Book tickets HERE


Take a peek behind the curtain and learn more about The Cunning Little Vixen! Listen to music, watch videos, read articles, and more with this content-filled gateway.



Composer – Leoš Janáček
Libretto – Rudolf Těsnohlídek & Stanislav Lolek
Conductor – Johannes Fritzsch
Director – Stuart Maunder
Set Designer – Richard Roberts
Costume Designer – Roger Kirk
Lighting Designer – Trudy Dalgleish
Guest Chorus Master & Music Supervisor  – Marilyn Phillips
Vixen – Emma Pearson
Fox – Rachelle Durkin
Forester – James Clayton
Schoolmaster / Mosquito – Matthew Ward
Forester’s Wife / Owl –
Ileana Rinaldi
Harašta – Mark Alderson
Parson / Badger – Paull-Anthony Keightley
Pásek – Perry Joyce
Mrs Pásková / Lapak – Ashlyn Tymms
Chocholka – 
Pia Harris
Cock / Jay – Rebecca Castellini
Tyrenka / Hen – Prudence Sanders
Hen / Woodpecker – Chelsea Kluga
Hen – Mary-Attracta Connolly
Hen – Sonni Byrne
Hen – Anne Millar
Male Chorus – Nathan Stark
Male Chorus – Thomas Friberg
Male Chorus – David Penco

West Australian Opera Chorus
West Australian Symphony Orchestra


Approximately 2 hours including one interval


  • Saturday 21 April | 7.30pm
  • Tuesday 24 April | 7.30pm
  • Thursday 26 April | 7.30pm
  • Saturday 28 April | 7.30pm

His Majesty’s Theatre Perth


Sung in English with English Surtitles

Audio Described Show

Thursday 26 April | 7.30pm

Audio Description captures the visual elements of theatre performances by describing the ‘unheard’ aspects which are essential to understanding a story line. This service brings entertainment to life for people who are blind or vision impaired whilst being unobtrusive to the user.

For tickets to the audio described performance please contact Perth Theatre Trust Box Office at 08 6212 9292 or email It is essential patrons advise the booking agent that the audio described service will be required at time of the booking. Tickets for the service can be purchased up to three working days prior to the performance, after which audio described seats which have not been sold will be released to the general public.




ACT ONE – The forest. How Vixen was caught.

The Badger dozes in the afternoon sun. The Dragonfly dances. The Forester pauses for a nap on his way home. While he sleeps, the Cricket and the Caterpillar give a concert. A young Vixen is exploring the forest for the first time. The Forester wakes, and seizes the innocent cub. The Vixen grows up in the Forester’s home. The Vixen endures the Dog’s sexual advances, and defends herself vigorously against the taunts of the Forester’s children. She is tied up. Outraged by the economic and sexual slavery of the Hens, she becomes a feminist. But the Hens’ conservatism is too much for her, and she systematically kills them all before escaping.

ACT TWO – The forest. Vixen finds a home.

The Vixen returns to the forest, and cruelly evicts the Badger from his comfortable home. The Forester, full of drink, taunts the Schoolmaster about his hopeless passion for Terynka, a gypsy girl. But the Forester too is plagued by the memory of the Vixen he could not tame. The Vixen follows the Schoolmaster and the Parson as they stumble home. The Schoolmaster mistakes her for Terynka, and is inspired to the make the single most passionate outburst of his life. The Forester persistently hunts the Vixen through the forest. The Vixen finds a mate, and is soon obliged to marry.

ACT THREE – The forest. The death of Vixen.

The poacher Harašta is going to visit Terynka, whom he is to marry. He finds a dead hare – one of the Vixen’s victims. The Forester warns him against poaching, and sets a trap for the Vixen. The Vixen and the Fox play with their cubs. They find the trap, and ridicule the Forester’s incompetence. Harašta returns to pocket the Hare. The Vixen at first outwits him, but is eventually shot. The Schoolmaster bitterly regrets his lost opportunity – Terynka is to marry today. Inspired by the beauty of nature, the Forester recalls his youth, his imagination ablaze. He sleeps and dreams of the Vixen. A Frog reminds him of the inevitable cycle of nature and existence.

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