Cunning Little Vixen, The
  • Leoš Janáček. Opera in three acts. 1923.
  • Libretto by the composer, after the novel Liška Bystrouška by Rudolf Tĕsnohlídek.
  • First performance at the Brno National Theatre on 6th November 1924.

In a forest glen the Badger sits smoking, Flies dance around, joined by the Blue Dragonfly, the Cricket and Grasshopper, with the Mosquito, making a waltz. The Frog is chased by the little Vixen, and the Forester wakes up, catching the latter to take home. In the Forester's yard the Vixen is advised by others to reconcile herself to captivity, but instead she kills the Cock, so admired by the subservient Hens, and escapes. In the second act the Vixen fouls and occupies the Badger's sett, after a quarrel. In the inn the Schoolmaster plays cards with the Forester. The Priest teases the former about his coming marriage, and the Schoolmaster makes fun of the Forester over the escape of the Vixen, who now observes the three men as they make their way home. At home the Vixen is wooed by the Fox and after spending time together they are married. In the third act the Vixen and Fox and their cubs avoid a trap set by the Forester and plunder the poultry basket of the chicken- seller and poacher Harašta. He fires at them and the Vixen is killed. In the final scenes the Forester and Schoolmaster are together, the latter sad at the wedding of the girl he had loved. Walking home, the Forester remembers the happy past and seems to see the little vixen and the frog that had wakened him in the first act.

The Cunning Little Vixen, with its mixture of the animal and the human, presents obvious problems of staging, which have not always been overcome. It offers a nostalgic and wise view of life in music of great humanity. A concert suite by Vaclav Talich has been drawn from the first act of the opera.