Rusalka – Dvorak – Glyndebourne
One of Dvorak’s most well-known operas composed at the beginning of the twentieth century is a lyric fairy tale in three acts and sung in Czech. This production by Melly Still is more an imitation of the Hans Christian Andersen version of The Little Mermaid with tragedy at its core, but little to delight the fairy tale purists until a powerfully struck ending, both visually and musically, enables redemption at last.
The two leads – the Rusalka of Sally Matthews, who sings a great ‘Song to the Moon’ and has an impeccable tone and top and her Prince, the easy tone of the American tenor Evan LeRoy Johnson – climax beautifully together as they evade the fire of death and escape to the yonder.
The Vodnik of Alexander Roslavets is a fearsome foil to the Prince and there is great singing from the Kitchen Girl Alix le Saux, the witch Patricia Bardon, the Gamekeeper Colin Judson, the Foreign Princess Zoya Tsererina and the three Nymphs.
The Chorus were always on top form and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of the Conductor Robin Ticciati, produced beautiful eloquent sounds.
In her programme notes the Director Melly Still wanted to ‘release the human story of love and lust’. In this production she goes some way to achieving this without ever really obtaining her ultimate goal.