DVORAK: Rusalka

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Richard Hickox and Opera Australia's Australian premiere production of DvoY?ík's 'Rusalka' opened to spectacular reviews in March 2007. 'Hickox and the orchestra capture its sudden changeability and dramatic force, elegantly shaping the luscious, sweeping melodies while inflecting the intoxicating, folk music-inspired rhythms with grace and bite', noted The Australian. Chandos recorded the performances live and here releases the opera on a 3-CD set.

Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson's fairy-tale 'The Little Mermaid', 'Rusalka' tells of a water-spirit who falls in love with a prince. Enlisting the help of a witch, Rusalka becomes human so as to marry him. When the prince tires of her, and is unfaithful, she tries to return to the water, but a condition of her becoming human has been violated and she eventually dies together with the remorseful prince. Her story is of human desire, self-sacrifice and the search for enlightenment.

By the time DvoY?ík came to write Rusalka, he was an experienced opera composer with nine works to his credit; Rusalka was to be his last and is now a seasoned favourite. Part of the secret of the score's magic lies in the instrumental colouring. DvoY?ík was always inspired in his handling of the orchestra, but in Rusalka he reaches new heights of expressive scene painting. In the hands of Richard Hickox these elements are skillfully realised.

Taking the role of Rusalka for the first time in this production, the Australian-born soprano Cheryl Barker won deserved plaudits for her performances throughout the Australian press. 'It is hard to imagine anyone doing the title role better' (The Australian). 'Cheryl Barker gives an astonishing performance... she manages to capture the ethereal other-worldly quality of the water spirit, both physically and vocally, and her realization that her love for the prince is not returned is heart wrenching' (The Canberra Review). She is joined in leading roles by Rosario La Spina, Elizabeth Whitehouse, Bruce Martin and Anne-Marie Owens who also received excellent reviews. The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, wrote, 'Barker is not the only star. Elizabeth Whitehouse is thrillingly venal as the rival foreign princess, and Bruce Martin, as the water sprite, has insistent potency'.
Item number CHAN 10449(3)
Barcode 095115144923
Release date 12/01/2007
Category Classical
Label Chandos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 3
Artists Owens, Anne-Marie
Ryan, Barry
Martin, Bruce
Barker, Cheryl
Sarah, Crane
Whitehouse, Elizabeth
La Spina Rosario
Dominica, Matthews
Sian, Pendry
Fiebig, Taryn
Composers Dvorak, Antonin
Conductors Hickox, Richard
Orchestras Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
Opera Australia Chorus
Disc: 1
Rusalka, Op. 114
1 Act I: Prelude
2 Act I: Hou, hou, hou (Wood Nymphs, Echo)
3 Act I: I pekne vitam (Water Sprite, Wood Nymphs)
4 Act I: Hastrmanku, taticku! (Rusalka, Water Sprite
5 Act I: Sem casto prichazi (Rusalka, Water Sprite)
6 Act I: Mesicku na nebi hlubokem (Rusalka)
7 Act I: Ta voda studi, studi! (Water Sprite, Rusalk
8 Act I: Staleta moudrost tva vsechno vi (Rusalka)
9 Act I: To ja znam (Jezibaba, Rusalka)
10 Act I: Cury mury fuk (Jezibaba, Water Sprite)
11 Act I: Jel mlady lovec, jel a jel (Huntsman, Princ
12 Act I: Vidino divna, presladka (Prince, Water Nymp
13 Act I: Vim, ze jsi kouzlo (Prince)
Disc: 2
Rusalka, Op. 114
1 Act II: Jarku, jarku, klouce mile (Gamekeeper, Kit
2 Act II: U nas v lese strasi (Gamekeeper, Kitchen B
3 Act II: Jiz tyden (Prince, Princess)
4 Act II: Ach, vycitka to veru vcasna (Prince, Princ
5 Act II: Ballet - Beda! Beda! (Water Sprite)
6 Act II: Cely svet neda ti, neda (Water Sprite)
7 Act II: Kvetiny bile po ceste (Guests, Water Sprit
8 Act II: O marno, o marno! (Rusalka)
9 Act II: Vidis je, vidis? Jsou tu zas (Rusalka, Pri
10 Act II: Az pozar muj vas popali (Princess, Prince,
Disc: 3
Rusalka, Op. 114
1 Act III: Necitelna vodni moci (Rusalka)
2 Act III: Mladosti sve pozbavena (Rusalka)
3 Act III: Aj, aj? Uz jsi se navratila? (Jezibaba, R
4 Act III: Lidskou krvi musis smyti (Jezibaba, Rusal
5 Act III: Vyrvana zivotu (Rusalka, Water Nymphs)
6 Act III: Ze se bojis? Tresky, plesky (Gamekeeper,
7 Act III: Nas princ tezce stune, prevelice (Kitchen
8 Act III: Mam, zlate vlasky mam (Wood Nymphs, Water
9 Act III: Bila moje lani! Bila moje lani! (Prince)
10 Act III: Milacku, znas mne, znas? (Rusalka, Prince
11 Act III: Proc volal jsi mne v naruc svou (Rusalka)
12 Act III: Libej mne, libej, mir mi prej (Prince, Ru
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