Documentary on Cleveland Orchestra's 'Cunning Little Vixen' slated for national broadcast

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A documentary produced by WVIZ/PBS Ideastream about the Cleveland Orchestra's 2014 production of 'The Cunning Little

CLEVELAND - If the Cleveland Orchestra ever makes a DVD of "The Cunning Little Vixen," this will be the main bonus feature: the "making-of" video.

Early next month, at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, WVIZ/PBS Ideastream will air "Opera Reimagined: Animating the Cunning Little Vixen," a documentary it put together around the orchestra's acclaimed 2014 production.

Cleveland, though, won't be the only place it airs. The program also has been selected by American Public Television for national distribution, and will be available to other stations across the country through September and beyond. Currently the show is slated for broadcast in several major cities across California, Ohio, and the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The opera itself also will be re-staged here and abroad. In late September, the orchestra will kick off its 2017-18 centennial season with three encore performances at Severance Hall. The group then takes the production on tour for performances Oct. 19 and 20 at the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria.

"Opera Reimagined" is a 30-minute documentary following Cleveland Orchestra music director Franz Welser-Most and director Yuval Sharon through their mounting of Janacek's "The Cunning Little Vixen."

Wholly unlike traditional opera productions, their 2014 project made heavy, innovative use of digital animation, fitting human actors and voices into a cinematic world no physical set could replicate. Masked actors poke their heads through doors in a giant screen, allowing them to take on the appearance of forest animals and other creatures.

"I remember when I saw it for the first time," Welser-Most recalled. "I felt like a new art form [had been] invented."

For more information about "Opera Reimagined," go to ideastream.org. To learn more about the opera production or to purchase tickets to the upcoming performances, go to clevelandorchestra.com or call 216-231-1111.

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