How Munich’s Cunning Little Vixen turned into The Blue F*ck

How Munich’s Cunning Little Vixen turned into The Blue F*ck


norman lebrecht

February 01, 2022

A Bavarian State Opera post yesterday came out on Facebook as: ‘The cast of THE BLUE FUCK together with our director Serge Dorny, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Barrie Kosky’.

How did that happen?

Janacek’s animal opera Příhody lišky Bystroušky is known in English as The Cunning Little Vixen and in German as Das schlaue Füchslein.

Enter Facebook’s translator. Schlaue is instantly mistaken for ‘blaue’, or blue, and any word with ‘fuchs’ in it converts to the demotic Saxon colloquial.

Must try harder, Facebook.


  • Dave says:

    Oh, Facebook is trying, very trying…

    But it’s more bothered with stuff that will fill the pockets of that little creep Zuckerberg.

  • John Borstlap says:


    Another automatic translation of some years ago:

    “Siegfried’s Rheinfahrt” became “Sick fried rhino fart”.

    • Gustavo says:

      “Emergency! emergency!
      envious steel!
      Show your sharpness
      cutting tooth:
      out of the vagina to me!”

    • Micaelo Cassetti says:

      The singer’s name, Ira Malaniuk was helpfully translated as Irish Republican Army.
      I kid you not…

    • Una says:

      Wonderful!! Anything to do with the verb Fahren where it comes at the end of a sentence, or on singing Fac in Latin, always makes me laugh – aka Dvorak’s Stabat Mater!

  • Leoš says:

    Příhody lišky Bystroušky =

    Tales of Vixen Sharp-Ears

    It’s a pun. Even Wikipedia has it right.

  • he says:

    Now THAT is an opera I want to see.

  • René Berman says:

    Such a beautiful instrument…the Purple Leg….

  • The View from America says:

    Despite endless monetary resources available for product development, Facebook’s auto-translation function is beyond hopeless — even for the most poplular languages. Google Translate is far superior as “machine translation” algorithms go.

  • Emil says:

    A few months ago, the Greek PM posted on Instagram about his meeting with “Prime Minister of the Underworld [Netherlands] Mark Rutte”

  • Sisko24 says:

    If they had left the mistranslation of The Cunning Little Vixen as it was, they would probably have sold out the house…COVID or no COVID.

  • Karl says:

    Spell check used to turn Gounod into gonad. People would wonder why I would write how much more gonad we should be hearing in concert.

  • Clarrieu says:

    Some years ago, the name “Wiener Philharmoniker“ in a post written in English gave me “Saucisse Philharmonique” through the eng>fr FB translation…

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is a good one.

      I wonder how a symphonic sausage would sound.

      Comparable but intentional mistranslations accompanied, early 20C, R Strauss’ performances in France of his Sinfonia Domestica (‘le domestique symphonique’ = the symphonic valet), and Mahler’s French premiere of one of his symphonies with ‘Malheur’ spelled on the posters.

      • Clarrieu says:

        The most deplorable being what I saw years ago on a concert ad: “La Merde Debussy ». What a difference a single space makes…

        • John Borstlap says:


          It was once spelled on a poster as ‘La Mère de Debussy’.

          • Una says:

            Ha, ha, don’t you just love foreign languages!

          • John Borstlap says:

            Without linguistic diversity, we would not have cases like the sign on the door of an elevator in a Japanese hotel: ‘Because of repair work on elevator, you will be unbearable. With the compliments of the direction.’

  • jack says:

    Oh thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Gustavo says:

    Die Listigen Kleinen wichsen

  • Scott says:

    FB once referred to Stravinsky’s “Burning Chicken” … !

  • CLarrieu says:

    I must advise all french Donizetti-lovers that, in these times of Covid-figures, Edgardo’s aria in Lucia “Fra poco a me ricovero” still automatically translates “Bientôt pour moi hospitalisation”…

  • Una Barr says:

    For me as a Brit, I find this so funny!!!