Opera in four acts (six scenes)
Libretto by A. S. Dargomyzhsky
Natasha, his daughter, then the Mermaid
Olga, an orphan, devoted to the princesses
Mermaid, 12 years old
Boyars, nobles, hunters, peasants, peasant women and mermaids.
On the bank of the Dnieper, the old Miller lives with his daughter Natasha. For some time now the Prince became their frequent guest. He
Princely wedding. The prince marries a rich and noble girl. Guests call the young. Among the wedding gaiety one hears a plaintive song about deceived girl’s love. The prince is frightened: he recognized Natasha’s voice. Swat tries to restore broken fun and proclaims “Harek honey!”. But when the Prince bends down to kiss the Princess, a woman’s groan is heard in the silence. The wedding is overshadowed;
12 years have passed. Marriage did not bring the Prince of happiness. The Princess spends her days in dreary solitude. The hunter enters. He says that the Prince, after sending his servants, was left alone on the banks of the Dnieper. The agitated Princess with Olga rushes to the river.
Night. On the banks of the Dnieper, under the cold light of the moon, mermaids play merrily. Noticing the Prince, they disappear. The prince recognizes the places where he used to be many years ago: a dilapidated mill, an old oak tree. Memories of former happiness and repentance fill his soul. Suddenly, before him appears a terrible ragged old man. This is a miller. His daughter’s death deprived him of his reason. The prince calls the unfortunate to his home, but Miller refuses. Suddenly he attacks the Prince, demanding that he return his daughter. The hunters who arrived in time save the Prince from the insane old man.
Many years have passed since Natasha, rushing into the river, became a formidable ruler of the Dnieper waters. She still loves the Prince, but at the same time cherishes the dream of revenge. Natasha tells the daughter of the little mermaid about her father – her unfaithful lover, charging her to go ashore and lure him into the river.
Coast of the Dnieper. Here the Prince draws his memories of the days of former happiness. The Little Mermaid comes out of the water and tells the Prince that she is his daughter, calling for him. He is ready to follow her. Appearing on the shore Princess and Olga are trying to hold him. But Natasha’s voice calling the Prince is heard. Obeying him, the prince leaves after the Little Mermaid under the water.