Coproduction of Opéra national du Capitole and The Israeli Opera
Duration: Three hours and 15 minutes including 2 intermissions
On a moonlit night, in a meadow by the lake, the wood nymphs are dancing and playing with the Water Sprite, who pretends to try to catch them. As they leave, Rusalka tells the Water Sprite of her love for the prince whom she often sees by the lake. She wishes to become human and to have a soul. Horrified, the Water Sprite gloomily tells his daughter of the consequence of becoming human. He sends her to the witch, Jezibaba, to ask for help and advice. Jezibaba tells Rusalka that the price of becoming human is very high: Rusalka must remain mute, and if she does not succeed in keeping the prince’s love, she must return as a spirit to the waters, where she will lure her love to his death, while she remains condemned forever.
As the sun rises, the prince, out hunting a white doe, feels sinister magic in the woods, and tells the other hunters to leave. He meets Rusalka, who has been transformed into a lovely maiden, and is enchanted by her beauty. Unable to speak, Rusalka throws herself into the prince’s arms. He carries her off to his castle as the water sprites sing of the loss of their sister.
At the castle, the gamekeeper and the cook gossip about the upcoming marriage of the prince to the strange speechless maiden he has brought home from the woods. They are glad that the prince’s interest in the strange maiden is already waning, and that his attention is turning towards a foreign princess, with whom his country is in political negotiations.
The prince enters, asking a sad Rusalka why she does not burn with the passion he feels. When the foreign princess talks seductively to the prince, Rusalka realizes the threat to her happiness, and runs back to the woods, where she speaks with her father of her fear of loss. Her father advises her to persevere, but Rusalka is no match for the aggressive princess, who soon has enticed the fickle prince with her charms. As the prince rejects Rusalka, the Water Sprite appears and carries Rusalka off with him to the lake. The frightened prince appeals to the princess, who laughs at him cruelly and departs.
Rusalka enters into a frozen landscape, speaking of her sorrow, when she reencounters Jezibaba. She tells the sad young creature that in order to wash away the curse she must now kill the prince. Rusalka is unwilling to consider this, and becomes a water spirit.
Frightened, the gamekeeper and the cook have come to the woods to ask Jezibaba for advice about the prince, who has fallen ill, cursed by some strange spell. The Water Sprite, who is asleep not far from them, wakes up and chases them away, cursing the human race.
The prince enters like a madman crying out for Rusalka and calling upon heaven and earth to help him find her. Appearing as a spirit in the moonlight above the lake, Rusalka speaks to the prince, kisses him, and he dies blissfully.
Back Stage Secrets at the Opera Many Opportunities to Widen your Opera Experience
Do you want to know more about the opera you are about to attend? Do you want to find out some back stage secrets? Do you want to meet the artists after the performance? The Israeli Opera enables you to widen your opera experience with a variety of pre performance and post-performance events.
Pre Performance Lecture One hour before each opera performance there is a 30-minute introductory lecture in the auditorium (in Hebrew). Opera staffers present the opera and the production and enable the audience to get some extra information a short time before attending the performances. Admission is free for ticket holders.
Opera Talkback The curtain has just descended on the final scene of the opera. The hour is late. Nut the experience was riveting. This is the time to meet several of the performers. Come to listen and to speak. Ask questions. Meet the artists. A once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the artists who have just excited you on the stage. Opera Talkbacks takes place on the second level of the Opera House foyer and last around 30 minutes. Admission free. Opera Talkback takes place on several evenings in each production. Details can be found at the Israeli opera’s website.