The Cunning Little Vixen

The Forest Comes Alive in Janáček's Woodland Fable

Curtis Opera Theatre’s exciting 2023–24 series concludes with Leoš Janáček’s masterpiece, The Cunning Little Vixen, one of the most vivid and colorful operatic works of the 20th century. Led by a plucky heroine, this poetic parable celebrates the eternal cycle of life and death as it spins a comical yet bittersweet tale of Vixen Sharp Ears. Captured by a forest gamekeeper, the mischievous young fox cub grows up to become a strong, independent vixen, escaping into the wild, where she encounters a world full of possibilities. Janáček’s stirring adaptation of the beloved Czech novella features a lushly orchestrated, folk-infused score bursting with boundless invention and an imaginative array of dazzling colors.

Widely acclaimed director and playwright John Matsumoto Giampietro places the opera in a world of magical realism, in a fusion between the forest and a contemporary rehearsal studio. Under the baton of internationally renowned conductor and Curtis alumnus Vinay Parameswaran (’13), The Cunning Little Vixen features the rising young stars of the Curtis Opera Theatre in collaboration with the Philadelphia Boys and Girls Choirs. This innovative new production depicts the cycle of life, the vitality of youth and love, and the truth of nature.

This performance is part of the annual Curtis Gala on May 4, celebrating the legacy of voice.

The Cunning Little Vixen is sung in Czech with English supertitles.
Leoš Janáček, music and libretto

This concert runs approximately 110 minutes, including one intermission.


Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center
300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Directions and Parking


Role May 2 & 4 / May 3 & 5
Vixen Sharp Ears Sarah Fleiss / Juliette Tacchino
Fox Gold Stripe  Emily Damasco / Kylie Kreucher
Forester Evan Gray / Nathan Schludecker
Forester’s Wife & Owl Katie Trigg
Parson & Badger  Robert Frazier / Morgan-Andrew King
Schoolmaster & Mosquito Landry Allen / Jackson Allen
Harašta  Morgan-Andrew King / Robert Frazier
Lapák Kate Li
Chocholka (Hen) Zhihui (Judy) Zhuo
Rooster & Jay Shikta Mukherjee
Woodpecker Dalia Medovnikov
Pepík Juliet Rand
Frantík Maya Mor Mitrani
Pásek Yulin Yan
Paní Pasková Shikta Mukherjee
Cricket Philadelphia Boys & Girls Choir
Grasshopper Philadelphia Boys & Girls Choir
Young Frog Philadelphia Boys & Girls Choir
Young Vixen Philadelphia Boys & Girls Choir


Chorus: Full Cast, Sam Higgins, Emilie Kealani, Hongrui Ren, Judah Taylor, and Erik Tofte

Children’s Chorus: Philadelphia Boys & Girls Choirs

Vixen Vocal Cover: Emilie Kealani


  • Internationally recognised for his energetic presence, imaginative programming, and compelling musicianship, Vinay Parameswaran (Conducting ’15) is one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors on the podium today.

    Prior to his time with the Cleveland Orchestra, Parameswaran was the Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony for three seasons and led over 150 performances, which included his subscription debut with the Orchestra in 2016/17, conducting works by Gabriella Smith, Grieg, and Prokofiev. Other highlights have included debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, and Jacksonville Symphony.

    Equally at home in symphonic and operatic repertoire, and in the recording studio, Parameswaran has led performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love with Curtis Opera Theater. In Cleveland, he has assisted Franz Welser-Möst on productions of Verdi’s Otello, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. With the Curtis Ensemble 20/21 and violinists Jaime Laredo and Jennifer Koh, Parameswaran recorded the album Two x Four, featuring works by Bach, David Ludwig, Philip Glass, and Anna Clyne. In 2020/21, Parameswaran recorded a selection of concerts with the Cleveland Orchestra for the Orchestra’s digital streaming platform.

    Parameswaran was a Conducting Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has participated in conducting masterclasses with David Zinman at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, as well as with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Parameswaran was a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation U.S. in May 2021.

    A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Parameswaran graduated with honours from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in music and political science.  At Brown, he began his conducting studies with Paul Phillips.  He received an Artist Diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller as the Albert M. Greenfield Fellow.

    Learn more about Vinay.

  • John Matsumoto Giampietro is a Brooklyn-based stage director of opera and theatre.

    He is the Associate Director of the Chautauqua Opera Conservatory, where he has directed several operas including The Cunning Little Vixen, Hänsel und Gretel, Le nozze di Figaro, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    John is a vocal arts acting faculty member and stage director at The Juilliard School where he teaches acting across all degree programs.

    He is a frequent director with Youngblood, Ensemble Studio Theater’s Obie-award-winning young writers group. At EST, John directed the NY Times acclaimed production of Year of the Rooster by Olivia Dufault.

    John has directed opera and theatre at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Urban Stages, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, Curtis Institute of Music, The Flea Theatre, Shenandoah Conservatory and NYU Tisch School of the Arts, among others.

    Learn more about John.

  • Through visionary productions, bold concepts, and compelling narratives, the artists of Curtis Opera Theatre prepare to become stars of the world stage. The combination of key elements of artistry—music, acting, singing, and design—allows these student-artists to create a lasting connection with audiences.

Special Thanks

Curtis Opera Theatre is generously supported by the Ernestine Bacon Cairns Trust, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation.