Manhattan School of Music Senior Opera Theater To ‘Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears’

By Francisco Salazar

The Manhattan School of Music is set to perform Leoš Janáček’s  “Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears.”

The opera is inspired by a comic strip called “Sharp-ears” that ran in a Prague daily newspaper. Janáček decided to adapt the strip, about a vixen and her adventures in the forest, into the libretto for this opera. In doing so, he transformed the originally comedic source material into a philosophical reflection on the cycle of life and death. Described as a comic opera, it nonetheless has a serious theme.

Janáček’s mature works incorporate the composer’s earlier studies of national folk music, which is evident in
“Adventures of Vixen Sharp-Ears” with its Moravian folk music and rhythms. The opera, composed just five years before Janáček’s death, follows the escapades of a clever fox named Sharp-Ears who is captured as a cub by a local forester; after years of living on the forester’s farm, the fox escapes back to the woods to raise a family. This is a story about the connections between people and animals, told as a cautionary tale that is at times charming, frightening, tragic, and life-affirming.

MSM Senior Opera production will be directed by Dona D. Vaughn, the Artistic Director of the School’s Opera Programs and will be conducted by Jorge Parodi.

“I am thrilled that this year’s senior class is presenting this wonderful opera,” said Vaughn. “The story of Vixen Sharp-Ears works on multiple levels, so the opera is appropriate for a wide range of ages and tastes. Janáček’s inspiration – literally ripped from the pages of the newspaper – still, delights after almost 100 years.”

Performances are set to run at MSM’s Ades Performance Space from Wednesday, March 29 to Saturday, April 1.