This Weekend's Met Radio Broadcast presents the Fairy-Tale World of 'Rusalka'

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kristine Opolais in the title role and Eric Owens as the Water Sprite in Dvořák's Rusalka. Kristine Opolais in the title role and Eric Owens as the Water Sprite in Dvořák's Rusalka. (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Antonin Dvořák’s Rusalka is a heartbreaking opera that draws inspiration from at least two old Central European stories: Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s Undine. That alone should be warning enough that if you’re looking for an operatic-spin on the animated classic, you ought to look elsewhere. But if you’re interested in the rich Czech musical tradition, are ready to ponder the costs of true love and have an affinity for harps, you’re in luck. Rusalka is the Met Radio Broadcast for this Saturday, at 1 pm.

Dvořák fully embraced his Czech heritage, as one can hear in many of the symphonic and orchestral works for which he’s most popular. He’s not as well known for his opera, but Rusalka (his ninth of ten) has stuck with listeners for over a century since it’s 1901 premiere in Prague. This is in no small part thanks to the enduring popularity of the gorgeous Act I aria, “Song to the Moon,” in which the water nymph calls on the moon to relay to the prince the message of her love.

This week’s episode of He Sang, She Sang includes a conversation with Kristine Opolais, in which the soprano speaks about her deep connection with the opera’s title role, the deeper philosophical questions the story holds and why it’s the perfect piece to teach children about the limits of trust.

Cast:

Conductor: Mark Elder

Rusalka: Kristine Opolais

Foreign Princess: Katarina Dalayman

Ježibaba: Jamie Barton

Prince: Brandon Jovanovich

Water Sprite: Eric Owens

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