British Youth Opera's annual season features the cycle of life and death from the perspective of Janacek, Vaughan Williams and Holst
Nature features vividly in the productions that make
up this year’s British Youth Opera’s season. Janacek had
a passion for the natural world and much of his music is inspired by
his vision of the Czech countryside. The Cunning Little
Vixen (1924), based on a famous comic strip, is the tale of a
mischievous vixen’s rebellion against her capture and subsequent
romance and reflects Janacek’s ultimately optimistic view of the cycle
of life and death.
Vaughan Williams’ emotionally charged one-act
opera Riders to the Sea (1937), based on J M Synge’s
play, reflects a very different view of the world. The lives of
the central Donegal family are dominated by a cruel and impersonal
nature and the cycle of life is hopeless and brutal. The opera
is paired with an uplifting story from Gustav Holst in which
the heroine defies Death and restores her husband to life.
Holst’s rarely seen one-act opera, Sāvitri (1916), is
based on a traditional story from the epic Indian poem the
The British Youth Opera season opens on
September 5 with three performances of The Cunning Little
Vixen and continues with two performances of Vaughan Williams’s
Riders to the Sea / Gustav Holst’s Sāvitri (from
September 9), all at the Peacock Theatre, London.