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Best opera ever? Timothy Vernon chooses Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen

Editorial Staff

Best Operas Ever is a new podcast from Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC Radio 2. In each instalment, host Ben Heppner talks to one of the major opera figures of our time about a particular opera recording that they especially love. You'll find each episode here on, and you can tune in to CBC Radio 2 at 1 p.m. any Saturday from now until the end of November to hear these classic recordings in their entirety — along with extended conversations with our esteemed guests.

Best Operas Ever No. 9 - Timothy Vernon

Ben Heppner talks to Pacific Opera Victoria's Tim Vernon about one of the most beautiful opera recordings ever. 


Before Timothy Vernon founded Pacific Opera Victoria, which he's been leading since 1979, he lived for 11 years in Vienna. It's not a bad place to study music. And while he was sojurning in that city, Vernon developed a deep love for the music of Leoš Janáček, a composer who was virtually unknown in North America at that time, and whose operas are still not performed here with any regularity.

"I saw a lot of performances of Janáček and came to really love him," Vernon told Ben Heppner, "and was distraught when I came home to find that he was so little known here in Canada." Small consolation arrived in 1986, when the world's leading Janáček conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras, unleashed one of his most acclaimed recordings: his interpretation of the whimsical, profound opera The Cunning Little Vixen — with the legendary soprano Lucia Popp in the title role.

Hit the play button above to hear Vernon tell Heppner why he loves this piece so much. You'll also get to hear about the time when he unexpectedly ended up on Lucia Popp's doorstep. (She made him dumplings.) Tune in to Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on Oct. 22 to hear Mackerras's legendary Vixen recording in its entirety, plus more from this conversation.

Subscribe to Best Operas Ever on iTunes!

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