Opera fans who were thrilled to see “The Little Mermaid” are going to go positively wild when they see Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” now on stage at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and being broadcast to the midstate through the Met’s Live in HD series.
Dvorak, who was Czech but spent spent some time in the U.S., wrote nine operas, but “Rusalka” is above and away his most successful.
Described in the opera’s promotional materials as a “lyrical fairy tale,” the piece tells the story of a beautiful water nymph who has become passionately enamored of a nearby prince, thereby setting into motion a love affair that must inevitably come to a tragic end.
The director of this production is Mary Zimmerman, and while her previous outings at Lincoln Center have reportedly been deemed less than fully successful, the New York critics have declared this production to be a triumph in every respect.
The orchestra’s performance under the direction of Sir Mark Elder is said to be “glowing,” and the set by Daniel Ostling comes in for considerable praise. While the landscape and pond would be expected to charm with their natural beauty, instead they are described as “haunting,” “forbidding” and “a little off.”
Rusalka’s costume also suggests that she is a part of the natural world. Thus it comes as no surprise that she will have to enter into a pact with the witch Jezababa before she can become human and engage in a relationship with the prince. The price? Rusalka will lose her power of speech.
Believing that the power of her love can overcome the witch’s spell, Rusalka drinks the magic potion, but before she and the prince can wed, a fly enters the ointment. The resulting finale is guaranteed to tug the heartstrings.
Some of the Mercer University music contingent who traveled to New York last weekend were able to see this production live, but the rest of us will have our opportunity on Saturday.
Local music legend Edward Eikner will present the Opera Chat at this “dark, sexy hit” beginning 30 minutes before showtime at the historic Douglass Theatre.
When: 12:55 p.m. Feb. 25
Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Cost: $24 adults, $20 seniors and students