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Rusalka Illustration by Benedetto Cristofani

Rusalka

July 22 - August 22, 2023

Will she become part of his world?

Rusalka, a young water nymph, falls in love with a prince. The witch gives her a potion that will render her human but take away her voice. Rusalka risks everything for love and ends up paying dearly.

Music By
Antonín Dvořák
Libretto By
Jaroslav Kvapil
Sung In
Czech
Instant Translation Screen
English and Spanish
Production Support Generously Provided By
Robert & Ellen Vladem
The engagement of Lidiya Yankovskaya is supported by
The Marineau Family Foundation
The performances of Ailyn Pérez are supported by
Martha Allday
Production Illustration By
Benedetto Cristofani
Run Time
Approximately 2 hours 57 minutes; includes a 25-minute intermission

Synopsis

  • Act I

    A lake. Three wood nymphs are teasing old Vodník, the Spirit of the Lake, who pretends to catch them. His daughter Rusalka (the Czech word for water nymph) confesses to him that she has fallen in love with a human Prince who swims in the lake. She wants to become human so that he will be able to feel her embrace. Vodník is horrified, but he directs Rusalka to Ježibaba (Czech for witch), who can craft a potion for her. Rusalka beseeches the moon to shine upon her beloved. She wakes Ježibaba and relates her plight. Ježibaba warns her that becoming human will require many sacrifices. First, she will be mute. Second, if she loses the Prince’s love, she will be cursed; eventually luring him to his death. Rusalka is resolute, and Ježibaba prepares a potion. The Prince comes hunting the white doe, and he stops by the lake. He is enchanted by Rusalka’s beauty and bemused by her silence, and he takes her back to his castle. Her family mourns.

  • Act II

    The castle. Rusalka has been with the Prince for a week, and everyone wonders about the nameless, speechless bride-to-be. The Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy prepare the wedding celebration and speculate nervously: has this creature simply bewitched the Prince? Or will his own fickleness be his salvation? He has had his eye on a foreign Princess, and she seems intent on separating him from his pale companion. He sends Rusalka to her chambers to dress for the ball. The Foreign Princess vows to have him. At the wedding ball, the Prince is seen courting the Princess, and Rusalka runs out heartbroken. At the pond, her father appears, distressed by her sadness. She regains her speech to pour out her heart to him. He reminds her that when she returns home, she will bring the curse with her. The Prince and Princess come walking by the pond; he is feverish with words of love, and she is irritated by how confused he seems. Rusalka rushes into his arms, only to be dragged away by Vodník. The Foreign Princess goads him to follow the nymph into the abyss.

  • Act III

    The lake. Pale Rusalka sits above the lake and laments her fate: her lover’s infidelity has condemned her to wander as a will-o’-the-wisp. Ježibaba finds her and tells her that only human blood will wash away the curse. She hands her a dagger and bids her kill the Prince. Rusalka is aghast. She throws the knife into the water. Her sister-nymphs appear and rebuff her return. She sinks beneath the surface. The Gamekeeper and the Kitchen Boy, knees knocking with fright, approach the dwelling of Ježibaba. They have come to ask for advice for the Prince, who has fallen under the spell of the strange wood-girl he was to marry. Vodník appears, enraged, and announces that it was the Prince who betrayed Rusalka. He curses the human race, and the men flee. The Prince emerges from the woods, seeking Rusalka, half-crazed with remorse. She appears from the lake. He implores her to bring him peace. She tells him that a kiss from her now would kill him. He begs for it. She draws him into her arms, praying for mercy for his soul, and she slips back into the lake.

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