The Cunning Little Vixen

Leoš Janáček

4 February – 31 March 2023

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All the world is in this forest

Be transported to the forest and follow the enchanting tale of Vixen Sharp Ears. Captured by a Forester as a young cub, Sharp Ears dreams of freedom and escapes to take on the world. As her mischief unfolds, all the creatures of the forest come to life and rebellious hens, delicate dragonflies and playful squirrels help her on her journey.

This bittersweet fairy tale is an emotional journey reflecting on the nature of life, the cycle of birth and death and the connection between the human and animal worlds. Janáček’s playful folk-infused melodies burst with energy, as Director Sir David Pountney returns to charm audiences with this celebrated classic.

“It works beautifully… proves opera can be for everyone”
★★★★ — The Stage

“Breathtakingly ingenious… it’s lost none of its inspirational magic”
★★★★ — The Arts Desk

Originally a co-production between Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera.

From £15*

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes (including one interval)

Sung in English with English titles

Age guidance
10+. Family bookers please be aware of some mild language and adult themes. Contact our Box Office for more information.

Save with…
Season Ticket Packages
Under 30s membership
New to opera discounts

Family tickets
50% off for up to four aged 3-18 with each adult ticket booked (price bands B-D)
Collect from Box Office only.

*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

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Bite to eat before the show?

Kino’s seasonal pre-theatre menu is a little bit French, a lot British, and Yorkshire through and through. Think classic dishes reimagined, made from scratch by our award-winning chefs using the best local and wild produce. Sit back and relax as we make sure you have a pre-show meal to remember!


In the forest, animals and insects dance and play. A Forester enters and settles down for a nap. A playful Vixen cub startles a frog, who then jumps on the Forester, waking him up. The Forester captures the Vixen and takes her home as a pet. 

The Vixen, now a young adult, suffers cruelty from the Forester’s children and unwanted amorous advances from his old dog. Tired of captivity, she dreams of freedom. She incites a feminist rebellion among the hens, slaughters them all as a distraction and manages to escape.  

The liberated Vixen is back in the forest and commandeers a badger’s home. At an inn, the Forester, Schoolmaster and Parson drink. The Forester mocks the Schoolmaster over his infatuation with Terynka, a gypsy girl, so the Schoolmaster in turn taunts the Forester about his runaway Vixen, and he rushes out to find her. 

As the Schoolmaster and Parson stumble home from the inn, the Schoolmaster sees the Vixen and mistaking her for Terynka, confesses his love. The Forester arrives, spots the Vixen and fires at her, but she escapes unharmed. Later, the Vixen meets a charming male Fox. They fall in love, and the Vixen soon finds she is expecting cubs. The two get married.  

In the forest, a Poacher (who is now due to marry the Schoolmaster’s love Terynka) finds a dead hare, signalling that the Vixen is nearby. The Forester warns him off and sets a trap for the Vixen himself. The Vixen, the Fox and their brood of cubs emerge, find the trap and mock the Forester’s incompetence. The Poacher returns and manages to shoot and kill the Vixen.  

The Schoolmaster is upset to learn that Terynka will marry the Poacher, and wearing a new fox fur muff too. The Forester, however, accepts his growing old age. He returns to the spot in the forest where he first saw the Vixen. He falls asleep and dreams. A frog jumps on him – the grandson of the frog at the beginning of the story – reminding him of the wondrous cycle of nature. 


Audio Introduction

This audio introduction gives detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances.

It is to aid customers who are blind or partially sighted. Please note, the story and the details of the sets and costumes contain spoilers, so avoid them if you would prefer not to know what happens!

A large print transcript of the audio introduction is available to download.

Cast & creative

Elin Pritchard

Vixen Sharp-Ears

Heather Lowe


Paul Nilon
Paul Nilon


A man with a beard wearing a shirt.
Henry Waddington


Callum Thorpe


A man with dark hair wearing a scarf.
James Rutherford

Forester (exc. 14, 15, 21, 22, 29 Mar)

A bald man with a goatee.
Richard Burkhard

Forester (14, 15, 21, 22, 29 Mar)

A man with short dark hair.
Stefanos Dimoulas


A woman with red hair.
Lucy Burns

Spirit of the Vixen

A bald man in a t-shirt.
Paul Gibson


A man with short blonde hair wearing a turtle neck.
Kamil Bień


James Davies


Hazel Croft
Hazel Croft

Forester’s Wife

A bald man with a goatee.
Campbell Russell


Miranda Bevin

Chief Hen

Claire Pascoe

Innkeeper’s Wife

Stuart Laing


A woman with long hair and a necklace.
Sofia Livotov


Kathryn Stevens


A woman with blonde hair.
Kathryn Sharpe


A man with dark hair and stubble.
Andrew Gourlay

Conductor (EXC. 14, 15, 21, 22 Mar)

Oliver Rundell

Conductor (14, 15, 21, 22 Mar)

A man with short hair and a mutton chop beard.
Sir David Pountney


A woman with short dark hair and stuff earrings.
Elaine Tyler-Hall

Associate Director/Choreographer

A woman with dark hair resting hair head on her hand.
Maria Björnson

Set and Costume Designer

An older man with short hair wearing a t-shirt.
Nick Chelton

Lighting Designer

An older man with white hair.
Stuart Hopps

Original Choreographer

The Cunning Little Vixen

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