Fantastic Mr. Fox (opera)
Fantastic Mr. Fox is an opera in three acts composed by Tobias Picker to a libretto by Donald Sturrock based on Roald Dahl's children's novel of the same name. It was premiered by Los Angeles Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on December 9, 1998. In 2010, it was adapted into an abridged version with seven instrumentalists, and in 2011, a full-length version with the same reduced orchestration.
Picker's second opera (after his 1996 Emmeline) Fantastic Mr Fox was commissioned by the Roald Dahl Foundation. It received its world premiere performance by the Los Angeles Opera on December 9, 1998.
In 2010, Stephen Barlow staged a new version of the work commissioned by Opera Holland Park especially designed to be performed promenade style in the gardens of Holland Park. This version, in an abridged form for seven instruments, starred Grant Doyle as Mr. Fox, Olivia Ray as Mrs. Fox, Jaimee Marshall as Miss Hedgehog, Henry Grant Kerswell, Peter Kent and John Lofthouse as Farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
An additional full-length orchestral version was toured by English Touring Opera in 2011. The world premiere of a full-length seven-instrument chamber version was produced September 2011 in Pittsburgh, PA and starred Daniel Teadt as Mr. Fox, Katherine Brandt as Mrs. Fox, Leah Dyer as Miss Hedgehog, Sean Donaldson, Jeffrey Gross, Sean Lenhart as Farmers Boggis, Bunce & Bean.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, December 9, 1998|
(Conductor: Peter Ash)
|Mrs. Fox||mezzo-soprano||Suzanna Guzmán|
|Bennie Foxcub||Child||Jason Housman|
|Lennie Foxcub||Child||Theo Lebow|
|Jennie Foxcub||Child||Lauren Libaw|
|Pennie Foxcub||Child||Amy Recinos|
|Farmer Boggis||bass||Louis Lebherz|
|Farmer Bunce||tenor||Doug Jones|
|Farmer Bean||baritone||Jamie Offenbach|
|Fantastic Mr. Fox||baritone||Gerald Finley|
|Agnes the Digger||mezzo-soprano||Jill Grove|
|Mavis the Tractor||soprano||Lesley Leighton|
|Miss Hedgehog||soprano||Sari Gruber|
|Badger the Miner||baritone||Malcolm MacKenzie|
|Burrowing Mole||tenor||Jorge Garza|
|Rita the Rat||mezzo-soprano||Josepha Gayer|
A modern fable, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a story about good vs. evil, animal vs. human, and technology. With the help of the other creatures of the forest, Mr. Fox must outwit his enemies to keep his family safe. Mr. Fox finds that he may have stolen one hen too many from the henhouse, as the meanest farmers anywhere — Boggis, Bunce, and Bean (one fat, one short, one lean) — conspire to rid their lands of the Fox family once and for all. The Foxes are able to evade capture with the help of some woodland friends, leaving the farmers laying in wait while the animals help themselves to the fruit of the farmers’ lands. Having had their revenge, the animals return for a sumptuous feast far from danger in the Foxes‘ new home, while the farmers continue to wait in the rain.
Notes and references
- Hofler, Robert (1998-11-16). "'Mr. Fox' bows in L.A." Variety. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
- Battle (March 4, 2011)
- Hewett, Ivan (2011-02-16). "Fantastic Mr. Fox the opera: interview with Tobias Picker". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-07-09.
- Premiere cast from Rich (11 December 1998)
- Picker, Tobias. "Synopsis".
- Battle, Laura (March 4, 2011). "Foxy business on the road". Financial Times
- Rich, Alan (11 December 1998). "Fantastic Mr. Fox", Variety
- Schott Music, Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Fantastic Mr. Fox at Tobias Picker's official website
- Los Angeles Opera review of Fantastic Mr. Fox
- Fantastic Mr. Fox - Full Version at Schott Music
- Fantastic Mr. Fox - Chamber Version for Seven Players at Schott Music
- Fantastic Mr. Fox - Reduced Orchestration Version at Schott Music
- Interview with the Telegraph