Apr 30, 2004 12:00 AM - May 8, 2004 12:00 AM
Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka
The Metropolitan Opera presents Rusalka, one of Antonín Dvořák's most famous operas. Featuring Renée Fleming as Rusalka, Eva Urbanová as the Foreign Princess, Dolora Zajicek as Jezibaba, Sergei Larin as the Prince, and Willard White as the Water Sprite. Conducted by Andrew Davis, with a libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil.
Fri, April 30, at 8 pm
Wed, May 5, at 8 pm
Sat, May 8, at 12 noon
Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center
Subway 1 or 9 to 66th St, NY
For tickets call (212) 362-6000
An opera in three acts, Rusalka was first performed in Prague in 1901. It is considered Dvořák’s operatic masterpiece, bringing together as it does all of his stylistic trademarks. Until Charles Mackerras began promoting the operas of Leoš Janáček, it would not have been far from the truth to say that Czech opera was virtually unknown to non-Czechs, with the exception of Bedřich Smetana’s Bartered Bride and Dvořák’s Rusalka. The latter was the ninth of Dvořák’s 10 operas, and the only one to establish itself outside his own country. It tells the story of the eponymous Rusalka, or Water Nymph, who craves human form and pleads with her father, Vodník (Water Goblin), to tell her how to achieve it. The witch Ježibaba grants Rusalka's wish to be transformed into a beautiful woman but also makes her mute. In this form Rusalka entrances a Prince who, in turn, comes to prefer, at their wedding feast, a more articulate Princess.
The libretto, by Jaroslav Kvapil, is a reworking of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid," which allowed the composer to combine set pieces with forward-flowing drama. The music has much in common with his symphonic poem The Water Sprite, which is hardly surprising given that rusalky are water creatures.
Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) is one of music's great success stories. Born in the humblest of circumstances, he rose—by virtue of luck, hard work, and vast genius—to a position of prominence among musicians, both during his lifetime and forever after. Not only is he the most popular composer the Czech Lands have produced, Dvořák is one of the most popular composers anywhere of all time. His orchestral music—including nine symphonies, a cello concerto, and much great chamber music—has a central place in the international repertoire. His many operas are performed constantly in his homeland, and his greatest opera, Rusalka, has been cheered wherever opera is performed.
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From: Apr 30, 2004 12:00 AM
To: May 8, 2004 12:00 AM