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Antonín Dvořák Rusalka

Lyric fairy-tale in three acts
Text by Jaroslav Kvapil after Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué's tale Undine, Hans Christian Andersen's fairy-tale The Little Mermaid, Gerhart Hauptmann's drama Die versunkene Glocke, and motives from Karel Jaromír Erben's A Garland of National Tales

New production
In Czech, with German and English surtitles

Duration of the performance: approx. 3 hours


  • 17 August 2008, 19:30


  • 20 August 2008, 19:30
  • 23 August 2008, 15:00
  • 26 August 2008, 19:30
  • 28 August 2008, 19:30

Print programme (PDF)


Franz Welser-Möst, Conductor
Jossi Wieler, Sergio Morabito, Stage direction
Barbara Ehnes, Sets
Anja Rabes, Costumes
Olaf Freese, Lighting
Chris Kondek, Video
Altea Garrido, Choreography
Jörn Hinnerk Andresen, Chorus Master


Piotr Beczała, Prince
Emily Magee, Foreign Princess
Camilla Nylund, Rusalka
Alan Held, Vodník
Birgit Remmert, Jezibaba
Adam Plachetka, Gamekeeper
Eva Liebau, Turnspit
Daniel Schmutzhard, Hunter
Anna Prohaska, First Wood Nymph
Stephanie Atanasov, Second Wood Nymph
Hannah Esther Minutillo, Third Wood Nymph

Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
The Cleveland Orchestra


Rusalka shows Dvorák at the summit of his composer's art at the age of sixty: in it, he melds song, arioso and highly dramatic moments with the incredible richness of a symphonic orchestra score.
The opera tells the horrible and deeply sad fairy-tale of the water nymph Rusalka who longs for a soul, so that she may win the love of a prince. She is one of those spirits of the elements which were demonized with the chilly advent of Christendom, along with most of nature. From her exile in the Bohemian forest, which she haunts along with the other tree and spring nymphs, the water sprite who used to be a river god, and the witch Jezibaba, formerly the benign goddess Hekate, Rusalka longs to become human. For this to happen, she must agree to appear "mute to the world”. Only when the fickle prince betrays her does she realize that this condition means she is cut off from exactly the element that defines human beings: the gift of speech. Her loss of speech, her inability to take up her story as it is constituted in words directed at someone else make Rusalka one of the traumatized female figures of the fin de siècle during which Freud invented psychoanalysis.
Sergio Morabito