[Met Performance] CID:314440
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Rusalka {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/11/1993.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Debuts: Kathryn Krasovec, Sylvia Strahammer
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 11, 1993
Metropolitan Opera premiere


RUSALKA {1}
Dvorák-Kvapil

Rusalka.................Gabriela Benacková
Prince..................Neil Rosenshein
Princess................Janis Martin
Jezibaba................Dolora Zajick
Gnome...................Sergei Koptchak
Kitchen Boy.............Wendy White
Gamekeeper..............James Courtney
First Sprite............Korliss Uecker
Second Sprite...........Kathryn Krasovec [Debut]
Third Sprite............Kitt Reuter-Foss
Hunter..................Christopher Schaldenbrand

Conductor...............John Fiore

Production..............Otto Schenk
Set designer............Günther Schneider-Siemssen
Costume designer........Sylvia Strahammer [Debut]
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Carmen De Lavallade

Rusalka received nine performances this season.

Production a gift of Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

Review of John W. Freeman in Opera News

The season's next Met first, "Rusalka," also marked the company debut of its composer, Antonín Dvorák, though the work is a staple in his Czech homeland. No one familiar with the symphonies or Slavonic Dances needs to be told that Dvorák had both lyricism and rhythmic energy to spare, but in "Rusalka" he relied much more on the former than the latter. The score tends to lie still in the water unless stirred along by a conductor more determined than John Fiore evidently was to get it moving. The gloriously intoned but rather inert title characterization of Gabriela Benacková may have held him back. Neil Rosenshein, too light and lyric a tenor for the Prince, came into his own only in the lovely final scene. Bass Sergei Koptchak, on the other hand, was a pillar of strength as the Water Gnome, a father no less harsh, but considerably warmer, than Lina's in "Stiffelio."

As a stage production, designed by Gunther Schneider-Siemssen (costumes: Sylvia Strahammer) and staged by Schenk, "Rusalka" emerged a veritable paean to romanticism. It might have helped to reserve for Act II the autumnal look of the forest in Act I, but the lake had an alluring shimmer sorely missed in Act III, where the pond appeared little more than a drainage ditch - given the paramount importance of water in this story, a serious oversight. The down-to-earth rustics (the Gamekeeper and his nephew, the Kitchen Boy) were played to a fare-thee-well by James Courtney and the terminally terrified Wendy White. Their counterpart in the natural/supernatural realm, Dolora Zajick as the witch Jezibaba, had a romp, gloriously in her element. Janis Martin, on the other hand, rated well at the thankless task of personifying the inhuman side of humanity as the Foreign Princess, all coldness, artifice and disdain.



Photograph of Gabriela Benackova as the title role in Rusalka by Winnie Klotz/Metropolitan Opera.



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