Taking the audience away to a green and pleasant land where the lives of woodland animals are as important as the locals who live there, this opera by the Welsh National Opera (WNO) was awash with colour and adventure.
Children dressed as frogs, squirrels and fox cubs were enchanting throughout and made it seem like the most well-produced school play ever.
Janácek's opera is almost a pantomime comedy of characters. At the centre is the lovable vixen, who is captured as a cub by the forester, and manages to escape using her wild spirit and natural instinct to kill. We then follow her further adventures in love and motherhood.
Sophie Bevan is outstanding as the Vixen, changing over the two hour performance from innocent to cunning, sexual and later, motherly. She manages to make you care for the lovable rogue and her ultimate fate.
Director David Pountney adds plenty of humour to this production, and the choreography of all the various animals is well thought out. The hilarious chickens in particular steal the show in the first half of the opera. Then there are the birds nesting in the trees, calmly knitting in rocking chairs above the action.
What he also does is use plenty of dance as well as song. The insects perform ballet style routines as they flit across the landscape at daybreak, adding another dimension to this production.
Ultimately, you may not come away from this opera humming the songs, but what you will do is leave the theatre with a smile on your face and a little happier at the joyful scenes you have encountered.
The WNO production of Cunning Little Vixen continues to tour the UK: Venue Cymru, Llandudno
The Mayflower, Southampton
Milton Keynes Theatre
Theatre Royal, Plymouth
See www.wno.org.uk/vixen for ticket information.