The 2009 Florence recording of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen is bright, colourful, straightforward and fun but it doesn’t quite have the magic of the older Théâtre du Châtelet version. Laurent Pelly’s production is quite straightforward with attractive sets and costumes and interesting choreography from Lionel Hoche.
The performances are good with Isabel Bayrakdarian as an attractively cheeky Vixen and Quinn Kelsey as a solidly earthy Gamekeeper. There’s a rather good cameo from Judith Christin as the Gamekeeper’s Wife and everyone else is perfectly competent. Seiji Ozawa conducts the forces of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and is fine. It’s all thoroughly competent but somehow doesn’t get inside the piece the way the older recording does.
On Blu-ray of course it’s vastly superior in all technical respects to the Paris version. Paola Longabardo’s judicious video direction is very well caught by the HD picture and the DTS HD surround sound is very vivid. There are Italian, English (rather colloquial), German, French, Spanish and Korean subtitles. The only extras are trailers for a couple of other Arthaus releases and the booklet has a track listing and short essay.