Rusalka – Leeds – 22nd May 2010

A cracking evening at the opera (and also very warm!) Didn’t really know much about Rusalka before going to see it, apart from the famous Song to the Moon. Had listened to the Renee Fleming version (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dvorák-Rusalka-Antonín/dp/B00000DBUP/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1274631893&sr=8-6) which is quite outstanding. So after listening to that I was really looking forward to see the Opera North version.

Firstly, the soprano who sang Rusalka (Giselle Allen) was superb. She is one of the best singers I’ve seen at Opera North. She has a voice which suits all the emotions in an opera and can make soft phrases carry beautifully through the theatre. Will keep a close eye on her coming to the Grand again.

The setting was very simple, which is usually the case as of course budgets are tight. Though the direction, lighting and effective use of a minimalist style meant that it suited the fairytale very well.

The orchestra of Opera North were as superb as ever. The balance between such a large orchestra for this opera and the voice was excellent, never overpowering.

Overall an enchanting opera and a superb presentation of it, but unlike a number of fairytales on which it is based, there is no happy ending!

From Opera North web site (http://www.operanorth.co.uk/events/rusalka/):

Rusalka
Antonín Dvořák
(1901
)
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, Rusalka is a modern-day fairytale of a water nymph who yearns to be part of the human world to earn the love of a prince. Invoking the help of a manipulative witch, she is bound by strict conditions that will lead her to discover the meaning of true love.

First performed by Opera North in 2003, Olivia Fuchs’ award-winning production returns with many of its original cast, including Irish soprano, Giselle Allen as Rusalka, Susannah Glanville as The Foreign Princess and Richard Angas as The Water Sprite.  Internationally acclaimed Richard Berkeley-Steele makes his Opera North debut as The Prince.

Suffused with a haunting score, famed for Rusalka’s poignant ‘Song to the Moon,’ and conducted by Oliver von Dohnanyi, (The Bartered Bride, 1998) Rusalka offers an altogether spell-binding experience. 

Author: Neal

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