ubc opera program book – the cunning little vixen


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Program book outlining the synopsis, cast and crew of the UBC Opera Ensemble's performances of Leos Janacek's opera The Cunning Little Vixen.


Page 1: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen



Page 2: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen



(Prodaná nevěsta)

BEDŘICH SMETANA (1824–1884) Sung in Czech

NOVEMBER 2014 13, 14, 15 // 7:30 PMNOVEMBER 16 // 2:00 PM Old Auditorium

Norbert Baxa | Conductor Nancy Hermiston | Director


(Le Nozze di Figaro)

WOLFANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791) Sung in Italian

FEBRUARY 2015 5, 6, 7 // 7:30 PMFEBRUARY 8 // 2:00 PMChan Centre for the Performing Arts

Neil Varon | Conductor Nancy Hermiston | Director

LA TRAVIATAGIUSEEPPE VERDI (1813–1901) Sung in Italian

JUNE 2015 20, 25, 26, 27 // 7:30 PM JUNE 21, 28 // 2:00 PM Old Auditorium

David Agler | Conductor Nancy Hermiston | Director

Our 2014–2015 Season Brochure is now available. Subscribe to our 2014–2015 Season today. Current Subscribers have until August 1, 2014 to renew their subscriptions. Single tickets go on sale in September, 2014.

Don’t miss a single event involving the UBC Opera Ensemble in 2014–2015. Using iCal, Outlook, or your own digital calendar program, subscribe to our Events Calendar today. Visit our operatonic.com blog to view and subscribe to our complete 2014–2015 Events Calendar.

Page 3: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen


(PŘÍHODY LIŠKY BYSTROUŠKY)Sung in Czech with English Surtitles

Opera in three actsBy LEOŠ JANÁČEK (1854–1928)

Libretto adapted by the composer from a serialized novella (daily comic) by Rudolf Těsnohlídek and Stanislav Lolek

JUNE 26, 27, 28 AT 7:30PM | JUNE 29 AT 2:00PM

Conductor – David AglerDirector – Nancy Hermiston

Lighting Design – Jeremy BaxterSet Design – Robert Gardiner

UBC Opera Ensemble with members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra

There will be a 20-minute intermission after Act 2

This production is made possible by the David Spencer Endowment Encouragement Fund.


Page 4: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen


I love Leoš Janáček’s music and I especially love The Cunning Little Vixen! I first saw the opera at New York City Opera and was entranced by it. Later I had the privilege of singing the role of Příhody Lišky Bystroušky (the vixen) and fell in love with it all over again.

Janáček adapted the libretto himself from a very famous daily comic strip. The music incorporates Moravian folk music and its rhythmic qualities within

his classical compositional style. It is described as a comic opera yet has such a depth of meaning and a very serious side to it as well.

It can be seen as a children’s opera, like Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, which appeals to children of all ages; yet it also addresses the sometimes devastating effect that the human footprint can have on this very delicately balanced world.

The work was also influenced by Janáček’s unrequited love for the much younger Kamila Stösslová. He transformed himself into the Forester and Kamila into the Vixen and Terynka. He seduces you into this animal world. One quickly identifies with these half human, half animal characters and the line between them is steadily blurred throughout the opera.

The original cartoon became a reflection on the cycle of life, including the shocking and horrific death of the Vixen.It ends, however, with a sense of renewal and a return to a supreme simplicity in life and nature, where the hope for renewal and survival still exists.

All the best and enjoy!!


Page 5: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

THE CAST* JUNE 26 & 28 JUNE 27 & 29Vixen Hillary Young Stephanie NakagawaFox Simone McIntosh** Laura MillerForester Sheldon Baxter Micah SchroederSchoolmaster Erik Schwarzhoff Sung San OhPriest Duncan Watts-Grant Elliot HarderLapák, the dog Courtney Bridge Charlotte BeglingerRooster Suzette Janse van Rensberg Jessica TaylorHen Hannah Fettis Sawyer CraigBadger Duncan Watts-Grant Elliot HarderHarašta, the poacher Kyle Lehmann Geoff SchellenbergForester’s wife Rachel Stewart Rachel StewartPásek, the Innkeeper Brent MacKenzie Ian McCloyMrs. Páskova Rachel Stewart Rachel StewartFrantik Chelsi Walsh Caitlin HillPepík Tamar Simon Simone McIntosh**Baby Vixen Tamar Simon Chelsi WalshMosquito Brent MacKenzie Brent MacKenzieFrog Noah Skarsgard Noah SkarsgardOwl Sawyer Craig Tamar SimonWoodpecker Charlotte Beglinger Courtney BridgeJay Jessica Taylor Isabella HalladayCricket Victoria Porter Victoria PorterGrasshopper Suzette Janse van Rensberg Suzette Janse van RensbergFox Child #1 Stephanie Hogg Stephanie HoggFox Child #2 Chelsi Walsh Chelsi WalshBlue Dragonfly Alexa Krywulak*** Alexa Krywulak***


Soprano: Caitlin Hill, Chelsi Walsh, Isabella Halladay, Sawyer Craig, Tamar Simon, Jessica Taylor, Hanna Fettis, Laura MillerMezzo: Charlotte Beglinger, Rachel Stewart, Suzette Janse van Rensburg, Courtney Bridge, Simone McIntosh***, Elena RazlogTenor: Brent MacKenzie, Eric Schwarzhoff, Ian McCloy, Sung San OhBass: Duncan Watts-Grant, Elliot Harder, Geoff Schellenberg, Micah Schroeder, Sheldon Baxter, Kyle LehmannChildren: Una Brudar, Tara Brudar, Eden Lyons, Tessa Straus, Victoria Porter, Charles Porter, Sierra Jaggs, Zoe Leung, Samantha Jinks, Noah Skarsgard, Stephanie Hogg, Bianca Hogg, Gaia Fameli

*All cast and chorus are subject to change. **Appearing courtesy of Actors Equity***Appearing courtesy the Anna Wymann School of Dance Arts


Page 6: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

SYNOPSISACT IOn a summer’s afternoon in the forest, insects and animals dance around the Badger’s den. The Forester enters and being made sleepy by the day’s heat lies down for a nap. The young Vixen scares a Frog, who jumps onto the Forester’s lap. The Forester is startled but, instead of the frog he grabs the Vixen and decides to take her home to amuse the children.

In the courtyard of the Forester’s lodge, his Dog cozies up to the Vixen with amorous intent, but he gets turned down. The Forester’s son and a friend torment the vixen, so she bites one. The Forester is forced to tie her up. She falls asleep and dreams of freedom. At dawn, the Rooster starts lording it over his hens. The Vixen urges them to free themselves of his domination. To lead them on, she plays dead. As they come to inspect her, she grabs the Rooster and then the hens and kills them all. As the Forester and his wife try to intervene she escapes off into the forest, liberated.

ACT IIIn the forest, the Vixen taunts the Badger for occupying such a large den alone. Wanting the den for herself, she urinates on him and he stomps off, insulted. The Vixen claims her den. At the village inn the Forester, Priest and Schoolmaster are engaged in some playful banter. The Forester teases the Schoolmaster about his love interest, Terynka; he fires back about the Forester’s failure to subdue the Vixen. Goaded further, the Schoolmaster decides to go home, and is soon followed by the others. Walking tipsily through the nocturnal forest, the Schoolmaster mistakes the Vixen hiding behind a large sunflower for his beloved, Terynka. The Priest muses on the girl who betrayed him long ago. The Forester in pursuit of the Vixen, fires at her into the darkness and everyone scatters. Moonlight in the forest, the Vixen encounters a handsome Fox and is smitten; he is equally impressed. He woos her with a dead rabbit and they declare their love. They disappear into her den to consummate their union. When they come out, they decide to get married. The forest creatures celebrate their wedding.

— Intermission —4

Page 7: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

SYNOPSISACT IIIIn the forest, Harašta, the poacher comes along and finds a freshly killed hare on the ground. He is about to pick it up when the Forester appears and taunts him about still being unmarried. Harašta replies by saying that he is about to marry Terynka, whom everybody, including the married Forester, seems to have an eye for. Harašta goes off laughing while the Forester sets a trap for the foxes.

When all have left, the foxes and all their cubs arrive to play. Their mother discovers the trap and teaches her cubs about the dangers of humans. The cubs continue playing and their parents speculate on how many more cubs they will have when they hear Harašta approaching. Seeing him, the vixen distracts the poacher from her cubs. He puts his basket of chickens down, picks up his gun and gives chase but falls flat on his face. The foxes raid his basket. Nursing a broken nose, Harašta fires aimlessly and kills the Vixen.

Back at the inn, the Forester tells the Schoolmaster he has found the Vixen’s den deserted. It is then revealed that Terynka is getting married that day, wearing a new muff made from fox-skin. They talk about the Priest, who has left for a new village where he’s lonely. The Forester pays his bill and sets off for home.

In the forest he remembers his ardent youth. Feeling tired, he admires the natural beauty around him and lies down to sleep. He is awakened by a young fox, a cub of his own Vixen.

Stretching out his hand towards her, he is interrupted by the Frog. But it isn’t the same frog as before, says the amphibian - that was his grandfather, who used to talk about the Forester. The wheel of life has come full circle.

*adapted from Glyndebourne Opera and also Kobbe’s complete opera book.


Page 8: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

NANCY HERMISTON, O.C. — Director & SopranoCanadian-born lyric coloratura soprano Nancy Hermiston has performed throughout Europe and North America. Parallel to her extensive singing career, Miss Hermiston worked as voice teacher, stage director, and Co-coordinator with the University of Toronto’s Opera and Performance Divisions.

In 1995, she joined the University of British Columbia’s School of Music as the Head of the Voice and Opera Divisions, where she established the UBC Opera Ensemble. In 2004, Miss Hermiston was named the UBC University Marshal, and in 2008, UBC awarded her the Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance and Development in the Visual and Performing Arts. She was also honoured with

a Killam Teaching prize in 2010. In October 2011, she received an Opera Canada Ruby Award for her contributions to opera in Canada.

Miss Hermiston is also a favourite guest for master classes throughout Canada, the United States, China and Germany. Her UBC Opera Ensemble tours regularly to the Czech Republic, Germany, Ontario, and throughout British Columbia. The Opera Ensemble gave their first performances in Beijing and Chengdu in May of 2009, and returned to Shanghai in 2010 for concerts at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Shanghai Normal University. In May 2011, the Ensemble returned to the Shanghai Conservatory for a production of Giulio Cesare. Most recently, Miss Hermiston appeared with the Vancouver Opera as Stage Director for their 2012/13 season’s opening production of La Bohème. She will return to the Vancouver Opera in 2015 to direct their production of Die Fledermaus. On December 30, 2013, Miss Hermiston was honoured with the Order of Canada.

DAVID AGLER — ConductorDavid Agler is Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival Opera. He has previously served as Music Director of the Vancouver Opera, Principal Conductor of the Australian Opera, Resident Conductor of the Oper der Stadt Köln, conductor and Administrator of the Spoleto Festival, Artisit Director of the Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Music Director of the Syracuse Opera. He served as Music Director of the Banff Centre’s Opera As Theatre proram between 2008–2012. Notable opera companies with whom he has appeared

include the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, The Western Australian Opera, The Netherlands Opera, Reggio Emilia, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, L’Opéra de Montréal, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Teatro Communale Bologna. As a symphonic conductor, he has led concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Notional Arts Center (Ottawa) Orchestra, CBC Vancouver, Netherlands Radio Symphony, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Symphony and Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. At Wexford Festival Opera, Mr. Agler leads one of the world’s most remarkable festivals. The Festival’s mission is the present forgotten and neglected operas, which attract audiences from all parts of the world. Mr. Agler also spends a portion each year mentoring young artists at institutions including, the University of British Columbia, The Banff Centre, and The Curtis Institute of Music.


Page 9: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

UBC OPERA ENSEMBLEThe University of British Columbia Opera Ensemble was founded by Canadian lyric coloratura Nancy Hermiston in 1995. Beginning with a core of seven performers, Miss Hermiston has built the program to a 90-member company, performing three main productions at UBC every season, seven Opera Tea Concerts, and several engagements with local community partners. The Ensemble’s mission is to educate young, gifted opera singers, preparing them for international careers. Past main stage productions have included Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Suor Angelica, La Bohème, Dido and Aeneas, The Merry Widow, The Bartered Bride, Manon, Eugene Onegin, Florence: Lady with the Lamp, Dream Healer, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Cendrillon, Albert Herring, the Western Canadian premiere of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, The Crucible, Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), Rusalka, Così fan tutte, Dialogues des Carmélites, and Carmen. The 2013–2014 season will present Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann as well as Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in the Old Auditorium, and in the Chan Centre, Nino Rota’s The Florentine Straw Hat. The 2014/2015 Season includes The Bartered Bride, Le Nozze di Figaro and La Traviata. They will be travelling to the Czech Republic this summer performing Smetena’s opera The Bartered Bride.

Photo: Tim Matheson


Page 10: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

VANCOUVER OPERA ORCHESTRAThe Vancouver Opera Orchestra was established in 1977, replacing an orchestra made up of members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Comprised of the region’s leading freelance players, the VO Orchestra has developed into a fine ensemble that has taken the specialized and demanding art of pit performance to a very high level. Several of the current roster of musicians were in the pit for the orchestra’s inaugural performances, in 1977, of Massenet’s Le Roi de Lahore, starring Joan Sutherland and conducted by founding Music Director Richard Bonynge. There have since been two music directors: David Agler (1992–1999) and Jonathan Darlington (2002 to the present).

Violin IMark FerrisAngela Cavadas Domagoj IvanovicEllen Farrugia

Violin IIPatricia ArmstrongAndrea SiradzePeter Kryza

Viola/ViolinTawnya PopoffIsabelle Roland

CelloHeather HayHarold Birston

BassLes Kasprzak

Flute/PiccoloElizabeth McBurney

Oboe/English Horn David Owen

Clarinet/Bass ClarinetMary Backun

Bassoon/Contra BassoonIngrid Chiang

HornLaurel SpencerHeather Walker

TrumpetTom Shorthouse

TromboneJeremy Berkman

TimpaniPhilip Crewe

PercussionLeonard Pearson

HarpJanelle Nadeau

KeyboardDavid Boothroyd

Orchestra ContractorJim Littleford


SPECIAL THANKS TO:David Spencer Endowment Fund Vancouver Opera GuildDr. Irving Guttman and Robert DalesMartha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation Judith and Graham Forst Milena Janda

Dean of Arts, Gage AverillSOM Diretor, Richard KurthDirector of UBC Theatre, Robert GardinerAssistant Dean, Gerald VanderwoudeDevelopment Officer,

Christopher Whitney SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Page 11: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen


PRODUCTION TEAMDirectorNancy Hermiston

ConductorDavid Agler

Lighting Design Jeremy Baxter

Set Design Robert Gardiner

Opera CoachesDavid Boothroyd Richard Epp

Stage ManagerSheila Munn

Production AssistantCollette Brown

PropsSarah Melo

Hairdressing & WigsElke Englicht

Make-upHailey Taylor

Wardrobe Work-studiesFrancesca CorradoRachel Stewart

Wardrobe AssistantsSawyer CraigSuzette Janse van RensburgIsabella HalladayEva TavaresCharlotte Beglinger

DressersShan Fu Li Zhou

ProgramSheldon BaxterLaura Widgett

Program PrintingEast Van Graphics

Office AssistantsSheldon BaxterLaura Widgett

SurtitlesMilena Janda

Surtitles OperatorLaura Widgett

Marketing Coordination & Graphic DesignMiles Linklater

Opera LibrarianKatie Miller

Production Manager Luc Corbeil

Technical Director Keith Smith

Scenic Painters Justus Hayes Louise A. DeGagné

Scenic Carpenters Keith SmithJim FergusonRebecca Burks

Lighting OperatorJessica Howell

ProjectionsAustin WangSara Smith

Video OperatorAustin Wang

Student Technical DirectorWilliam Grossman

Stage CrewCameron KillickElliot HarderDuncan Watts-GrantKyle LehmannGeoffrey SchellenbergCharlotte BeglingerSara SmithLaura Miller

SPECIAL THANKS TO:SOM, Administrative Assistant,

Isabel da Silva Stephen Quigley and Colborne Architects Vancouver OperaParvin Mirhady

Catherine Alkenbrack and Suzanne PoohkayBradley PowersLynn BurtonKeith Smith Bard on the Beach Anna Wymann School of Dance Arts

Page 12: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

OPERA + THEATREWe’re delighted to announce that the Department of Theatre and Film and the School of Music’s Opera Program will be merging our production seasons starting in the fall of 2014. This merger is a landmark event for both programs; Opera and Theatre at UBC have enjoyed an informal association since the 1960s, and this new formal alliance of our production areas has been developing since the founding of the UBC Opera ensemble by Professor Nancy Hermiston in 1995.

The combined Opera and Theatre season of shows will be unique among Canadian post-secondary programs, an unparalleled training environment for student performers, directors, designers, and technicians, as well as a marvelous expansion of the opportunities to enjoy great live events on the UBC Vancouver campus.

We not only present this wonderful combined season of live performances, but we’ll also, for the first time in our history, be premiering an original film created entirely by students, “Naked Cinema”, which will be ushered to the screen by award winning filmmaking collaborators Bruce Sweeney and UBC Associate Professor Tom Scholte.

Our new subscription packages and extra events will be available to you online by July 30.

Please join us to experience the exciting work of our next generation of theatre, opera and film artists.

ROBERT GARDINER, Professor & Acting Head UBC Department of Theatre and Film

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Subscription packages from $33 / Flexible options available online!BOX OFFICE: 604.822.2678

www.theatre.ubc.ca | www.ubcopera.com


theatre TWELFTH NIGHT SEPT 25 – OCT 11, 2014by William Shakespeare FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE

film NAKED CINEMA JANUARY 26 & 27, 2015

original collective creations NORM THEATRE

theatre THE BACCHAE 2.1 JAN 22 – FEB 7, 2015

by Euripides, adapted by Charles Mee FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE


MAR 19 – APR 4, 2015


book: James Magruder, music: Jeffrey Stock, lyrics: Susan Birkenhead FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE

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Enjoy a delicious 3-course dinner on the stage of the Chan Centre with serenades from our young stars. Cap off the evening with an incredible night of dancing to the fantastic music of the legendary Dal Richards and his orchestra. Tickets must be purchased in advance and include a $100 tax receipt.

Page 16: UBC Opera Program Book – The Cunning Little Vixen

UBC full page VO 14-15 ad.indd 1 14-06-11 2:08 PM