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.