Tuesday, June 5, 2012: Cunning Vixen, Cinema-Style

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Mischa Schelomianski as the Badger in Janáček's 'Cunning Little Vixen' Sunday in the cinema.

The Cunning Little Vixen, in Cinema-Style

The Aero Cinema series continues its beneficial work broadcasting top productions of ballet, opera, and more to those of us who can’t jet off to Moscow, Paris, or London to join the live audience. Instead, we can all have virtual front-row seats at local movie theatres across the Czech Republic.

On Sunday, June 10 you can enjoy the half-live broadcast of Janáček’s children’s opera The Cunning Little Vixen sung in the original Czech, with English subtitles.

Why half-live? Normally, the Aero series broadcasts an entire performance live, in real time, usually in HD (high definition). However, this production of Vixen comes from the Glyndebourne estate north of London, where traditionally, the audience takes a 90-minute break for a live picnic in the park outside the theatre.

So rather than asking Czech cinema audiences to twiddle their thumbs while the English live audience eats, the producers have come up with the following solution: The first half of the opera will be by delayed broadcast, and after the picnic the rest will be shown to us, live.

You have to believe that Czech audiences actually have the advantage over the live English one. For one thing, you can see the two parts of this opera in a more compact time frame – not stopping for a full hour-and-a-half among human diners, and then trying to resume the story of a forest full of animal characters.

Secondly, the view in the cinema is always better than in an opera house, thanks to close-up camera work, overhead crane shots, and dolly shots where the camera runs alongside or into the action. And the cinema broadcast generally includes interviews with the leading members of the cast, still in costume and make-up, perspiring and gasping, during the intermission. It all offers you an up-close-and-personal view, right on the spot, that is not possible in an actual theatre.

So if you’re curious about a Janáček opera (or opera in general) and you’d like to see a top-notch performance in Czech with English sub-titles, you can enjoy this performance on Sunday starting at 7:15 pm.

True, you won’t be able to enjoy the picnic; but you won’t be bothered by the ants, either …

The Cunning Little Vixen in Prague is at 7:15 pm June 10 at the Světozor Cinema. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Aero Cinema

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