English National Opera's Rusalka London opera tickets now on sale at affordable prices!
Rusalka, one of the most popular Czech operas of all time that is frequently staged in Prague but rarely staged in the UK, is set to open at the London Coliseum in spring 2020 as part of the ENO's 2019/2020 season. Magnificently composed by the famous Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák, and featuring a brilliant libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil, Rusalka presents itself as an escapist fairy tale that will leave you spellbound from start to finish. For those who have never attended the opera but adore The Little Mermaid, Rusalka offers the perfect place to start as this gripping plot is reminiscent of the popular Hans Christian Andersen story, which in turn remains similar to the folklore of Czech authors Karel Jaromír Erben and Božena Němcová.
What is the Rusalka opera about? – Rusalka synopsis
The three-act opera immediately opens with a highly cinematic overture that is followed by scenes of wood nymphs splashing about at the edge of the lake where Vodník, the Water Gnome, rules. His beautiful daughter Rusalka, also a nymph, becomes smitten by a human prince who has come to hunt in the area surrounding the lake. Desperate to become a human herself so she can embrace her royal crush, Rusalka turns to the evil witch Ježibaba for help after performing the opera's most beloved aria, 'Song to the Moon' (In Czech: 'Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém' - famously sung by Renée Fleming who recorded the aria with the Prague Symphony Orchestra), in which she begs the lunar deity to confess her love to the Prince on her behalf. Ježibaba agrees to turn Rusalka into a human on the condition that Rusalka surrenders her voice to the witch. She reluctantly agrees to the terms that she must find love with the prince or risk being turned into a will-o'-wisp. When the Prince is seduced by a Foreign Princess, Rusalka succumbs to her wretched curse. But when the Prince realises his mistake, he goes searching for her, ending the opera in tragedy.
Similarities between Rusalka and The Little Mermaid
There are many similarities between Dvořák's opera and Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, and it is highly likely the story was passed on from tribe to tribe and from generation to generation in Europe's earlier days. Etymologically speaking, the word 'Rusalka' comes from the word rusá, which denotes red hair. Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid and Rusalka both have red hair, though Rusalka's hair turns black upon transforming into a will-o'-the-wisp.
Rusalka's father, the Water Gnome, is reminiscent of Ariel's father, King Triton, both of whom are rulers of an underwater kingdom. King Triton rules the mermaids while the Water Gnome rules the water sprites. Ježibaba in Rusalka is certainly similar to the sea witch, Ursula, in the Disney film and both get their own solo song. Ježibaba's aria 'Čury mury fuk' (Double Double Toil and Trouble) in which she concocts Rusalka's transformational potion is strikingly similar to Ursula's 'Poor Unfortunate Souls.' Meanwhile, the 'Song to the Moon' aria is comparable to Ariel's solo in the film, 'Part of Your World.'
Unlike in the film, which has a happy ending, the original Andersen story sees the nameless mermaid transform into sea foam upon failing to sway the Prince. This sad ending is taken up by Rusalka, which sees the protagonist transform into a ghostly spectre of the meadow.
Despite the many similarities, the timeless Rusalka opera holds its own and offers a whole new genre with which to enjoy a fairy tale – a night at the opera!
Rusalka London opera cast and creatives for the 2020 season
The 2020 ENO production of Czech opera Rusalka stars Corinne Winters in the titular role of Rusalka (soprano) alongside David Butt Philip as The Prince (tenor), David Soar as a Water Spirit, Patricia Bardon as Ježibaba (mezzo-soprano), Claire Rutter as The Foreign Princess (soprano), Katie Coventry as Kitchen Boy (soprano), Nadine Benjamin as 1st Wood Nymph (soprano), Idunnu Münch as 2nd Wood Nymph (soprano), and Katie Stevenson as 3rd Wood Nymph (contralto).
Rusalka is conducted by Antony Hermus and directed by Tatjana Gürbaca. It features set and lighting design by Klaus Grünberg, associate set design by Anne Kuhn, and costume design by Barbara Drosihn.
Affordable tickets for the ENO's Rusalka opera at the London Coliseum will not last!
It's not every day you see the ENO put on Rusalka in London's West End, which is why tickets to this Czech opera are expected to sell out fast! Book your Rusalka ENO tickets early for the best seats and prices at the West End's London Coliseum, or you may just live to regret it!
Don't forget to check out other English National Opera shows playing for the new ENO season here.