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.

Performance history

Picker's second opera, after his 1996 Emmeline, Fantastic Mr Fox was commissioned for the Roald Dahl Foundation. It received its world premiere performance by Los Angeles Opera on December 9, 1998. 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 in the Summer of 2010. 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. A full-length orchestral version was toured by English Touring Opera in 2011.[1] 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.

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, December 9, 1998
(Conductor: Peter Ash)[2]
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
Porcupine tenor Charles Castronovo

Synopsis

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.[3]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Battle (March 4, 2011)
  2. ^ Premiere cast from Rich (11 December 1998)
  3. ^ Picker, Tobias. "Synopsis". 

Sources