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John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, May 2004

He (animator Geoff Dunbar) has created a magical and creative world that draws the viewer in and you soon forget you are listening to an opera. The images are so much less gimmicky than typical Disney animation and of course the music is on a much higher level. However, when the Vixen is shot I remembered how upset I was as a child when Bambi's mother was killed. There is no libretto but the voices are quite easy to understand, and when not the images fill in the story details. This is superb animation that children should see, on the same level as Spirited Away and Finding Nemo. And it could even start them on an appreciation of opera which I was not privy to.

DVD Plus (The Netherlands), August 2003

"Kent Nagano and Dunbar have created a fantastic animated film - my 18 month old nephew sat totally transfixed watching it and, after lessons at the conservatoire I couldn't drag my students out of the classroom."

Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times, June 2003

"Janacek's wondrous animal opera, a lovable yet unsentimental celebration of nature, was inspired by a Czech cartoon strip and here is returned to its roots, 21st-century style. The opera's a natural for animation, and this superb adaptation for television made by the BBC, with some support from Los Angeles Opera, sets exactly the right tone. It's cute enough for kids (and adults) while still capturing the essence of deeply drawn (in both senses of the word) characters, human and animal. Janacek's incandescent score glows musically under Kent Nagano's baton, and under Geoff Dunbar's luminescent paintbrush, the film glows, literally. The opera is substantially trimmed to an hour, keeping the focus on the animals and losing much of the human goings-on. The characterful cast, all singing in intelligible English, adapt an unusual style that might be called operatic cartoon singing - theatrically exaggerated but still Janacek. Some parents may worry about the composer's frank portrayal of life, death and, yes, sex in the animal kingdom. But all that is part of the glory of a film that presents opera as something real and yet fantastical. Kids should see it, and this DVD is the only way. **** Stars."

Olin Chism
The Dallas Morning News, June 2003

"The story and music flow well, with no obvious joints to jar the senses...In contrast to classic Disney films, there is economy of style. Characters move against still background paintings, which generally are quite attractive though colors are subdued. There is sly wit...I found the Forester of Grant Doyle noble and moving...The young cast is from the European Opera Centre, which is based in Manchester, England, though it performs around the continent. It is devoted to talented newcomers.

Mr. Nagano conducts an atmospheric performance by the German Symphony Orchestra of Berlin.

Originally broadcast on the BBC, this recording well captures the spirit of Janacek's tale of life, death and renewal."

Bradley Bambarger
Newark Star-Ledger

"It was an inspired idea to make an animated film version of Czech composer Leos Janacek's 1923 opera "The Cunning Little Vixen," which he based on a serialized newspaper cartoon. Conductor Kent Nagano's condensed version of the score retains the opera's touching core, and Geoff Dunbar's animation has charm for adults and children alike."

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