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"The two principals... delivered polished and arresting performances, both displaying acting talent that suited the roles, guided with keen observation by the sure, uncliched hand of director Ryan Hartigan.
- Lindis Taylor, The Dominion Post


Current shows > The Cunning Little Vixen

The Cunning Little Vixen

Good Angel, Bad Angel teaser image

A sexy, comic and sometimes revolutionary romp through the Czech countryside, with the irrepressible Vixen Sharp-ears.

Jan/Feb 2010 tour dates:

  1. Wed 27 Jan - Maidment Theatre, Auckland, 7:30pm
  2. Fri 29 Jan - The Centre, Kerikeri, 7:30pm
  3. Mon 1 Feb - Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton, 7:30pm
  4. Wed 3 Feb - Baycourt Exhibition Space, Tauranga, 7:30pm

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What the Critics say

"Arguably the most daring and enterprising operatic event of the year in New Zealand has been the imaginative production of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen last weekend, the New Zealand premiere... [this] production by Wellington’s adventurous NIMBY Opera that astonishes. Even though staged in the somewhat unpropitious Salvation Army Citadel in Vivian Street, Jacqueline Coats’s remarkable direction, designed with projected backdrops by Tsai Lin, bowled over the audience. ‘Is this really ‘amateur’ opera?’ ran through everyone’s mind. Many of the characters dance their parts and the choreography by Sacha Copland is energetic, suggestive and amusing."

"There’s a small orchestra playing with liveliness and colour a cut-down version that retains almost all the quirkiness of the original: Justus Rozemond the arranger and conductor."

"But it’s the singers who make the show so vividly alive, led by Kate Lineham as a endearing and clever Vixen and Barbara Paterson as the fox – they fall in love and have a litter of little foxes. There are many others, the cream of Wellington’s younger singing talent – Matthew Landreth as the Forester and Stuart Coats as the Poacher and Innkeeper; Daniel O’Connor, Edmund Hintz and Barbara Graham and others as frog, mosquito, chickens, baby foxes, owl, dog, woodpecker and so on" - Lindis Taylor

"NIMBY once more presents a production that is clever, sophisticated, skilful and fresh. One had only to look at the beaming faces of the audience members as they left the first performance of The Cunning Little Vixen to see that how much they had enjoyed this engaging production. " - Vicki Thorpe, Theatreview

"A quirky little show that will open your eyes to a whole other side of the opera genre. As a person with limited opera going experience, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from an opera described as “a sexy, comic and some times revolutionary romp through the Czech countryside”. What I got was a fun and entertaining story acted out brilliantly by a group who were not only amazing singers but great comedians." - Melissa Cathcart,

About the Show

‘The Cunning Little Vixen’ is a sexy, comic, and sometimes revolutionary romp through the Czech countryside where Leoš Janácek spent his life. The story follows the adventures of a troublesome fox, kidnapped as a cub and taken to the world of the humans where she grows up, eventually escaping to cause havoc in the life of the local Forester. This is an accessible, entertaining work with a comic, bawdy edge, and a gorgeous Romantic pastoral evocation of the joys of nature.

Creative Team

The Cunning Little Vixen brings together some of NZ's top up-and-coming opera talent, including Emerging and Resident Artists from the PWC NBR New Zealand Opera (Kate Lineham, Matthew Landreth, Barbara Paterson, Daniel O'Connor, Barbara Graham) and members of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus.

Director Jacqueline Coats ('Cosi fan tutte') works with the team from 'Good Angel, Bad Angel', with a specially-commissioned score arranged by Justus Rozemond, and animations and visual design by award-winning cartoonist Tsai Lim.


A mischevious young fox is kidnapped from her forest home as a cub and taken to the world of the humans. Vixen Sharp-ears, however, is not a fox to be trifled with - she escapes, and procedes to turn both the local Forester's life, and the rest of the woods upside-down.


Proudly supported by Creative New Zealand and The New Zealand Opera Society.

Venues and Performance Dates for 'The Cunning Little Vixen'

Venue Date Time
Maidment Theatre, Auckland Wed 27 Jan 7:30pm
The Centre, Kerikeri Fri 29 Jan 7:30pm
Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton Mon 1 Feb 7:30pm
Baycourt Exhibition Space, Tauranga Wed 3 Feb 7:30pm


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