View Full Version : Rusalka?

February 8th, 2014, 07:54 PM
I have been recently fleshing out my collection of music by Dvorák, who must surely have been the greatest composer under-represented in my collection. I have picked up a number of recordings of
Dvorák's symphonies, chamber works, choral works, and songs... but now I must set about to picking up a copy of Rusalka. Accck! The shame. As a self-proclaimed opera lover... nay, vocal music lover... how could I have allowed this gap to remin unfilled for so long?!

So what are some recommendations for Rusalka?

February 8th, 2014, 08:35 PM

February 9th, 2014, 12:04 PM
I can't offer much, I only listened to this opera (above recording) for the first time this week.
Only that I can say of course the sound is excellent (recorded Rudolfinum, Prague, 28 April - 9 May 1998), I can imagine being in a theatre listening to it.
Also, I thought "Oh, so this is Renée Fleming!" who together with Ben Heppner took me to a beautiful (and tragic) place.
In fact, so good, now that it has been mentioned again, I think I shall go there again today.



***Pictures are absolutely nothing to do with the opera, they just came into my mind when I was listening to the opera.

February 9th, 2014, 05:39 PM
***Pictures are absolutely nothing to do with the opera, they just came into my mind when I was listening to the opera.

I'm sure there are lots of Rusalkas living in those beautiful waters. Watch out, gentlemen!

February 9th, 2014, 06:17 PM
***Pictures are absolutely nothing to do with the opera, they just came into my mind when I was listening to the opera.

Pictures are actually Pitvice lakes in Croatia; spotted after reading Davor's great post on Soprano Milka Trnina. I think the 3rd picture is the Trnina lake named after her.

I'd happily go there and accept death to kiss the Rusalka in my mind...

February 9th, 2014, 06:17 PM

I have this recording with Camilla Nylund, Piotr Beczala, and Alan Held from the Salzburg Festival, and enjoy it very much.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 9th, 2014, 06:43 PM
Well, Rusalka is a truly extraordinary opera, one of my favorites, when I think of it - sometimes it slips out of our mind when we are voting for favorites and whatnot, but when it pops up again, wow, it is just so incredibly melodious, and with such an interesting fairy tale plot which is not really the happy kind but rather a dark one... it's an extraordinary piece that works well in all forms - just as a listen with its ravishing music, and theatrically it clicks as well so that live shows and DVDs are very compelling. I'm excited with the fact that I'll soon be attending it live, given by our regional opera company here in Raleigh on March 30, 2014 [clicky (http://www.ncopera.org/)].

Now, which version? Of course Sir Mackerras was a specialist of this repertoire so I also endorse the CD with Fleming and Heppner mentioned above which I also own and is widely considered to be the reference for this piece.

The Chalabala version has its fans, though.


Also favored by critics is this recording:


However the consensus seems to be that Sir Mackerras' is still the best one, not in small measure thanks to Renée's best rendition of a role that is one of her signature roles, while she was in excellent vocal form in 1998 (I've heard from someone who saw her current one at the Met that her voice is not up to the same standards any longer which is quite possible - as long as her career has been, she can't sing forever).

Now, for video versions:

I do have two versions on DVD that although wildly different, are both interesting in their own way - the old filmed version that is quite faithful to the story and rather cute although the images are very outdated, and the domestic abuse Regie one with a GORGEOUS-looking and appropriately all wet Kristine Opolais. :love8:



I don't own it, but I've seen Renée Fleming's older Robert Carsen version from Paris (of course, she has a current one going on at the Met right now which is part of the Live in HD series, but I haven't seen it) and I find it OK. Most people love it, but for some reason and although it is musically good, I still prefer both of the above to this one.


There is another version on DVD from the ENO, but I haven't seen it. According to reviews it is not very good, and even though like all ENO productions it is sung in English, buyer beware because there are no subtitles - and you all know that it's not always easy to understand the lines in operatic singing even when the spectator is a native speaker of the language. I think Rusalka does get much enhanced by its dreamy libretto so it's important to be able to follow what is being said.


November 17th, 2017, 04:08 PM
I agree with the Mackerras CD recommendation. As for DVDs, I like Robert Carsen's production with Renée Fleming, in a spare, stylized modern setting that emphasizes doubling and reflections, as Rusalka tries to negotiate here way between two parallel worlds.

The Martin Kusej production with Kristine Opolais is also intriguing, but very dark. In that one, Rusalka is one of a group of sexually abused girls held captive in a dank basement be a threatening father figure. Her dreams of another life become especially poignant, as she sings her Song to the Moon, not to the actual moon she's never seen, but to a dim globe lamp. Talk about the dark side of fairy tales!

I'd say both productions are worthwhile, though perhaps not as one's first exposure to the opera.