Kristine Opolais stars in a new production of the opera that first won her international acclaim, Dvořák’s fairy tale opera about the tragic water nymph Rusalka. Sir Mark Elder conducts Mary Zimmerman’s new staging, which also stars Brandon Jovanovich as the human prince who captures Rusalka’s heart; Katarina Dalayman as Rusalka’s rival, the Foreign Princess; Eric Owens as the Water Sprite, Rusalka’s father; and Jamie Barton as the duplicitous witch Ježibaba.
World premiere: National Theater, Prague, 1901. The only one of Dvořák’s operas to gain an international following (so far), Rusalka is in many ways a definitive example of late Romanticism—containing folklore, evocations of the natural and the supernatural worlds, and even a poignant interpretation of the idea of a love-death. The story has a strong national flavor as well as universal appeal, infused by the Romantic supernaturalism of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s novella Undine (previously set as an opera by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tchaikovsky, and others) and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.