Rusalka – Live at the Met in HD

The next production in the current Met: Live in HD season is the acclaimed production of Dvorak’s “Rusalka”, directed by Mary Zimmerman.  I previewed this gem this afternoon at Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank.


The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Dvorak’s Rusalka is based on the familiar fairy tale of  The Little Mermaid, but a much darker, sexier, story, without a happy ending.

Directed by Mary Zimmerman, Rusulka has fabulous sets, a wonderful cast, believable for their looks as well as ability to sing, and sumptious costuming. The work conveys a sexual energy and a gripping narrative to those of us who don’t know this little opera.  (For many in the South African audiences, this is a first exposure to this operatic gem).

The set is designed by Daniel Ostling and it never disappoints, from the mystical first act dominated by three in the centre, through the second act. first in a sunlight field, then later scenes at the palace and into the third act for the sad parody of the first act set.  The wonderful costumes are by Mara Blumenfeld and the evocative lighting by  T. J. Gerckens. The choreographer is Austin McCormick.

Dvorak’s music is brought to life under the baton of Mark Elder.  The stars of the production are the lovely soprano in the title role, Kristine Opolais, and the human prince, the good looking and sexy tenor, Brandon Joyanovich.

For much of the opera our heroine is silent.  The lesson, given in an on screen interview with the director, is that when we become something we are not, we pay a price.  We lose our voice.  We literally lose the passion of which we, as humans, are capable.  If we are inauthentic, our relationships, even the one for which we sacrificed out authenticity, are doomed.

The only aria which is well known from the opera is the plaintive “Song to the Moon” from the first act, sung by Rusulka.

Three singing wood sprites – Hyesang Park, Megan Marino and Cassandra Zoé Velasco – are joined by dancers.  Vodnik, the water gnome, is sung by bass-baritone Eric Owens. Jamie Barton, dressed in a cobwebbed pattern Victorian gown, is a powerful mezzo-soprano who brings life and guts to the witchy role of Jezibaba.  The foreign princess is sung by  the Wagnerian soprano Katarina Dalayman.
All round this is a fabulous production which opera lovers should really not miss.
The screening times at Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas are as follows, from Saturday 25 March at 17:00, Saturday 25 March  at 17:00,Sunday 26 March at 14:30, Tuesday 28 March at 11:30, Tuesday 04 April at 18:00 and Wednesday 05 April at 11:30.
The running time of this production is 3hrs and 40 mins, including two intervals of 30 mins each, twenty minutes of each taken up by interviews and filler material.

About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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