Claire Booth on her role as Vixen

We are looking forward to welcoming Claire Booth back to Garsington Opera as Vixen in our 2014 production of The Cunning Little Vixen. Claire first performed with us at Garsington Manor in our 2002 Janáček double-bill of Šárka and Osud. From then her operatic development has progressed rapidly and she is now internationally renowned for her versatility and musicality, and an acclaimed champion of 20th and 21st century works. She told us about her preparations for her leading role.

I’m very much looking forward to performing the role of Vixen with Garsington Opera. It’s a piece I’ve seen many times and was drawn to even during my days at music college. Naturally, singing an opera in its original language allows you to get closer to the composer, to see how they envisaged the lyricism, experience the dynamism of the text, and understand the immediacy of their word settings – but you do need a good language coach! That’s probably my first phone call, as there’s no point wasting valuable time un-learning bad habits! Czech isn't one of my more fluent languages, so the more time I give myself the better.

Last year I performed the role of Max, in Knussen’s extraordinary adaptation of Maurice Sendaks’ Where the Wild Things Are. Max spends the opera dressed up as a wolf, crawling, leaping and cavorting around the stage in his efforts to become king of all wild things. Playing a boy who pretends he’s a wolf was both liberating and exhausting, and I’m intrigued to see how much of that experience I can carry into playing Vixen. She’s an animal, she’s a woman, she’s an allegory, she’s political, she’s a feminist… It’s going to be a wonderful challenge to bring the character to life and I’m excited finally to have the chance to sink my teeth into the role!

For more information about The Cunning Little Vixen, including the cast and creative team, visit www.garsingtonopera.org. Photo: Claire Booth who takes on the role of 'Vixen' in our 2014 production of The Cunning Little Vixen