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Dvořák’s Rusalka: An operatic feast in all aspects

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As part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, currently being screened by Ster-Kinekor in South Africa, ‘Rusalka’ comes up trumps in absolutely every aspect

Although influenced by Wagner, Dvořák’s music has an identity of its own which is often quite mischievous… and, this is definitely the case with respect to ‘Rusalka’, an operatic tale loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Little Mermaid’.

This brand new rendition by the Metropolitan Opera has been directed by Mary Zimmerman and under her talented, watchful eye this haunting love story comes to life… and, one of the beauties of the Live in HD series is the provision of English subtitles, so the arias are understood no matter the language of their origination… in this case – Czech!

The costumes, the sets and the performers meld together in absolute perfection, but the piece de resistance is the witch Jezibaba – Jamie Barton! Every move she makes on stage is enticing as she deliciously licks her lips, bats her eyes, peers through vintage binoculars and relishes every aspect of the maliciously evil aspects of her character … so much so that her eyes actually twinkle!

Set in the forest filled with energetically playful sprites sits Rusalka – the mermaid who wishes to be human and have someone love her (Kristine Opolais) whose ethereal beauty haunts the Prince (Brandon Jovanovich). Despite all the warnings from her father – the ruling Water Sprite (Eric Owens) and Jezibaba, Rusalka exchanges her ‘tail’ for feet and sets off to conquer her beau.

Set to a magnificent score, ‘Rusalka’ is definitely not to be missed!

Screenings: Screening times for ‘Rusalka’ at Nouveau (Rosebank Mall, JHB; Brooklyn Mall, PTA; Gateway Commercial, DBN; and V&A Waterfront, CT) and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas are as follows: 25 March at 5pm; 26 March at 2:30pm; 28 March and 05 April at 11:30am; and 04 April at 6pm. The running time is 3hrs and 40mins, with two intervals.

Sneak peek: Jamie Barton sings Ježibaba’s “Čury mury fuk” from Act I of “Rusalka” at the final dress rehearsal. Production: Mary Zimmerman. Conductor: Sir Mark Elder. 2016-17 season.

Kristine Opolais sings the title character’s “Song to the Moon” from Act I of “Rusalka” at the final dress rehearsal. Production: Mary Zimmerman. Conductor: Sir Mark Elder. 2016-17 season.

Eric Owens sings an excerpt of the Water Gnome's music from Act II of "Rusalka" in a January 25 rehearsal. Production: Mary Zimmerman. Conductor: Sir Mark Elder. 2016-17 season.

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