4 Jun


By Silent Opera supported by the ENO

At the Vaults  Waterloo Station

Daisy Evans, Stephen Higgins and Max Pappenheim have constructed a reimagining of Janacek’s classic opera ‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ creating a metaphor of life in the current day Streets of London.

Forester is a man who loves his beer – he is out on the town when he sees a teenage red- haired beggar and is fascinated by her. This is Vixen, a homeless girl with a Vixen tattoo on her chest who survives by the generosity of people on the streets of London.  Forester takes her home and feeds her, but his family is consumed with jealousy and she is assaulted sexually by members of his family. Vixen runs away, taking Forester’s wallet.

She uses the money to build herself a shanty. She meets Fox who manages to overcome her fear of love and they marry.

Forester who is obsessed by the memory of her tries to seek her out and hires a detective to find her and bring her home. He finds her and all ends in tragedy.

Is it possible to have immersive opera? And yes o course it is. It has been provided in the Vaults underneath Waterloo Station. The action takes place with two principal singers Ivan Lyudlow as Forester and Rosie Lomas as Vixen plus five singer/musicians  and all are scattered among the audience.  The audience is moved several times – from the bar, through the auditorium into the Forester’s kitchen and the final part is in the theatre.

But the real adventure of this production is the production of earphones which are handed out to each member of the audience so that they get an exact representation of the words and music as the whole congregation including the actors are moving around the building. The earphones are comfortable and one forgets about them as soon as the production begins – they also help to drown out the sound of the trains rumbling above.

The singing is of course wonderful and the cast give it their all, bringing out the drama of the situation. I did feel however that the singers were all perfect in their rendition of both the words and the notes and were powerful enough to fill the building with sound, without the need of earphones.  A bit of a gimmick in fact. But it did all add to the fun.  A great adventure that should not be missed.



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