We went for our first Met HD streaming this season (it’s a pity they didn’t stream Norma starring Angela Meade!), this one of Dvorak’s Rusalka, a tale of water nymphs and mortal love much like Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, although one with a tragic ending.
I loved Otto Schenk’s set, especially the opening scene. His sets, like the retired one of Wagner’s Ring cycle, are always so richly textured, imaginative, and detailed, and draws the viewer directly and utterly into the opera’s world. This one opened up on a gorgeous moody forest clearing by a small pond. I was blown away how the light seemed to shimmer across the surface of the pond.
Renee Fleming sang the title role, one which has since been her calling card since she won the 1988 National Council Auditions with the opera’s greatest hit, “Song to the Moon.” That aria itself occurred fairly early on in the opera, and was beautiful to listen to, although I question the director’s conceit of having the water nymph sing perched precariously on top of a tree.
Piotr Beczala was wonderful as the fickle hearted prince, and the other cast members put up solid performances as well. For a simple story line though, the 4 hour performance (including 2 intermissions) felt a tad too long, though the conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a good pace throughout. Also helped that we could snack on sandwiches and wine throughout hehe.
Interested to see how the Lyric’s new production compares when M and I catch it in a few weeks!