Rusalka set for Dvořák Prague festival

One of Antonin Dvorak’s greatest works, the opera Rusalka, is set to be performed during the ongoing Dvořák Prague festival by the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Semyon Bychov.

Semjon Byčkov | Photo: Marco Borggreve

There will be three performances of Rusalka at Prague’s Rudolfinum. Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian will play the role of the titular water fairy.

Dvořák actually wrote 11 operas, though only Rusalka is performed much outside the Czech Republic. Here the likes of The Jacobin and The Devil and Kate are also staged.

Rusalka is based on the fairy tales of Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová, with the libretto written by Jaroslav Kvapil. Rusalka, a water sprite, falls in love with a prince. She pays a high price for transformation into a human being, losing her voice. What’s more, the prince falls in love with someone else. Rusalka promises revenge and when the prince wishes to return to her it is too late – he is dying.

Naturally the most performed and recorded Czech opera also contains the most famous Czech aria: Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém, or Song to the Moon, from act 1, in which Rusalka asks the moon, which sees everything, to tell the prince she loves him.

Asmik Grigorian: Song to the Moon (Rusalka)