CMC Breckenridge broadcasts Dvorak’s opera ‘Rusalka’
Special to the Daily
If you go
What: Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” part of the 2013-14 “Met Opera: Live in HD” broadcast season
Where: The Finkel Auditorium at the CMC Breckenridge campus, 107 Denison Placer Ave.
When: 10:55 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8; the National Repertory Orchestra and the Lake Dillon Theater Company’s “Opera Prologue and Epilogue” series begins at 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $20 for adults, $16 for seniors and Met Members and $10 for students and children
More information: Snacks and beverages will be served during the intermissions. For ticket information and purchase, call the National Repertory Orchestra Office at (970) 453-5825. Ticket purchase may also be made online by visiting the NRO website at www.nromusic.com.
Antonin Dvorak’s fairy tale opera “Rusalka” will be the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.
In Slavic mythology, rusalki were fish-women who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and would mesmerize handsome men with song and dance, leading them away to the river floor to their death.
The Czech libretto for “Rusalka,” written by the poet Jaroslay Kyapil, is based on the fairy tales of Karel Jaromir Erben. Renee Fleming assumes the lead role of the water nymph, Rusalka. Fleming most recently performed on television, singing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII. As Act I opens, she is seen sitting on the shore, expressing to the Water Goblin her love for a human, the Prince, whom she has seen swimming in the lake. She wants to become human herself.
In the famous aria “Song to the Moon,” Rusalka sings of her love for the Prince. Jezibada, the forest witch, arrives and turns Rusalka into a human, with the warning that if love fails, she will be damned and her lover will die. As a mortal, Rusalka also will lose her power of speech. As dawn breaks, the Prince appears, is captivated by Rusalka’s beauty and leads her away to his castle.
Act II, set in the Prince’s castle, is a marriage ceremony of the Prince with his new unknown bride. A foreign princess attending the wedding mocks Rusalka’s muteness. Rusalka, upon becoming more intimidated by her surroundings, rushes from the castle in tears, returning to the water after being rejected by the Prince.
Act III opens with Rusalka again sitting by the water. Jezibada produces a knife, counseling Rusalka to kill the Prince to make amends. She refuses. Half crazy with remorse, the Prince again emerges from the forest, looking for Rusalka. After a brief duet, the Prince wins a kiss, despite being warned that this act would kill him. He dies in Rusalka’s arms, her professing mercy for his soul.
Dvorak is best known for his symphonies and string quartets, but the music of “Rusalka” is captivating. Its chromatic melodies and “leitmotivs” are reminiscent of Wagner, whose music impressed Dvorak. Dynamic young maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the orchestra. With each act having its distinctive moods and interplay of instruments, reviewers have described the orchestral performance as “superb.” The stage settings of water and forest in Acts I and III, with lighting effects by Gil Wechsler, are picturesque and spectacular.
Reviewers have described Fleming’s performance as being sung with tonal splendor and commendable ease. Piotr Beczala sings the part of the Prince, bass John Relyea performs the part of the Water Goblin and Dolora Zajick sings Jezibaba. From all reviews, this fairytale production of “Rusalka” goes beyond pure myth and maintains Dvorak among the best of composers.
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