The Royal Opera House Muscat Presents:
May 8 & May 10, 2013
Rusalka is Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s most beloved opera and one of the most achingly beautiful of all operatic works. Janáček Opera of the National Theatre Brno, Czech Republic, presents this national treasure of Czech operatic repertoire.
The tale, a mix of Czech mythology and the classic tale of the Little Mermaid, paints the tragedy of Rusalka, a water nymph who strikes a sorry deal with a witch in order to follow her love for a human, a prince. Under the musical direction of Jaroslav Kyzlink and the dramatic leadership of innovative theatre director Vladimír Morávek, the new staging is a vital fairy tale, “a mystery about love, defeat and salvation.” The work has been increasingly recognized as a major part of Dvořák’s oeuvre; a celebration of love stronger than death, and forgiveness stronger than hate.
Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)
Opera in three acts. Libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil.
Scenic poem of Vladimír Morávek
Musical study: Jaroslav Kyzlink
Conductor: Jaroslav Kyzlink
Direction: Vladimír Moráve
Stage: Daniel Dvořák
Costumes: Sylva Zimula Hanákov
Choreography: Ladislava Košíková
Choirmaster: Pavel Koňárek
Premiere on 24 February 2012 in the Janáček Theatre
Characters and cast:
Rusalka (a water nymph): Maria Kobielska, Anna Wierzbicka
Prince: Peter Berger, Richard Samek
Vodník (a water goblin): Gustáv Beláček
Foreign princess: Daniela Straková-Šedrlová, Iveta Jiříková
Ježibaba (a witch): Helena Zubanovich, Veronika Hajnová
Cook: Martina Králíková
Gamekeeper: Jiří Klecker
1st nymph: Tereza Merklová Kyzlinková
2nd nymph: Jitka Klečanská
3rd nymph: Hana Kopřivová
Hunter: Igor Loškár
Choir and orchestra of the Janáček Opera of The National Theatre Brno
Artistic Director of the Janáček Opera: prof. Eva Blahova
The moon rises over a lake in a forest clearing and its rays light up the sparkling water. The wood nymphs run mischievously into the glade and play around the water sprite. One water nymph (Rusalka) is sad, for she has fallen in love with a prince who often comes to the lake. She wants to become human and yearns for a human soul so that she may be close to him. The water sprite warns her against worldly things, for he knows well that human love is not forever. Rusalka has made up her mind, however, and the water sprite sends her to the witch, for she is the only one who can help. The witch agrees to turn Rusalka into a girl, but the price is a high one – in her human form she’ll be unable to speak and, should she prove to be unable to hold on to the prince’s love, she’ll become a will-o’-the-wisp for eternity. At dawn the prince arrives at the lake. He finds Rusalka and is so taken by her beauty that he brings her back to his castle.
At the castle, preparations for the prince’s marriage to Rusalka are in full sway. An unknown princess arrives, and the prince succumbs to her provocative nature and sensuality, which are so different from Rusalka’s cold beauty, that he begins to court her. Rusalka fears for her love and runs to the water sprite for advice. He advises her to fight for it, but it is too late. The prince has completely fallen for the charms of the exotic princess and spurns Rusalka. The water sprite promises revenge.
Rusalka returns to her home lake. She is now a will-o’-the-wisp alluring wayfarers into the swamp. The witch offers her a way out – if she is able to kill the person who had hurt her so much, she would become a fairy once more. Rusalka refuses, for she is still in love with the prince. The prince is not content either. The charm of the princess has quickly worn off, and the prince now wanders aimlessly around the castle in search of his lost love. He returns to the lake and calls for Rusalka. She appears before him, but warns that her kiss would mean his death. The prince cannot bear to live without her and throws himself into her deathly embrace.