Summary “The Tragedy in Three Acts”
During his life, Dvorak wrote not a few operas, but the most famous and loved by the viewer was the latter – “Mermaid”.
The sea maiden of Undine, or, as it is called by the Slavs, the Rusalka, worried the imagination of artists before and after Dvorak. Her image was inspired by F. de la Motte Fouquet, E. T. Hoffmann,
J. Perrot, G. Heine, A. Mickiewicz and, of course, G. Kh. Andersen, whose touching tale “The Little Mermaid” has been touching readers for more than a hundred years to tears.
In Russia, the Mermaid was glorified in the poem of the same name by VA Zhukovsky, she became the heroine of Pushkin’s unfinished poem and Dargomyzhsky’s opera.
Antonin Dvorak “drew attention” to the Mermaid in 1900 when he was searching for a theme for his ninth opera. His previous opera – “Damn and Kacha” – had a huge success with the viewer, and the composer decided to continue the folklore theme.
Dvorak was pleased with the libretto, and he proceeded to create the score, which he finished by November 1900. The composer called his new opera a “lyrical fairy tale.” This work, created at the turn of the century, on the one hand, sums up the “golden age” of the opera, and, on the other hand, builds a bridge to musical expressionism. With the “golden age” “Mermaid” has a symphonized drama, a system of leitmotifs, the processing
The premiere of “Mermaid” was held on March 31, 1901 on the stage of the National Theater in Prague. Since then, this opera is one of the most popular works of the Czech opera repertoire, and the most famous of its arias is “Song to the Moon” (“Mesicku na nebi hlubokem”, “My Month in the Far Skies”).
Lyrical fairy tale in three acts
Prince’s retinue, guests, forest nymphs, mermaids.
The action takes place in a fairy-tale country in fairy-tale times.
On the shore of the lake, not far from the hut Baba-yaga sits a sad Mermaid. Forest nymphs with their singing disturbed the old man Vodyanoy, father of the Mermaid, and he swam to the surface of the lake. Frightened nymphs fled, and the Mermaid told her father about her grief. She passionately fell in love with the beautiful Prince and is ready to do anything to be with him. She wants to get a human soul. The water is saddened: this love will bring much grief to the daughter. To have a soul means to suffer! But touched by the entreaties of her daughter, she sends her for advice to Baba Yaga. The mermaid goes to the old woman. She undertakes to help, but sets the condition: after finding the human soul, the Mermaid will become dumb, and if she loses the Prince’s love, she will turn into a wandering swamp flame and destroy her beloved. Mermaid agrees on everything. The transformation takes place. At dawn, Prince comes to the shore of the lake, lost in the hunt.
In the castle prepare for the wedding. Servants are animatedly discussing this event, are surprised at the mysterious appearance of the bride. And the bride is not happy. The beautiful flirtatious Princess, who visits the castle, takes more and more of the attention of the Prince. The ball begins, the solemn music sounds, the guests happily enjoy themselves. A water man, secretly making his way to the park, watches painfully as his daughter is silently suffering. The mermaid tries to attract the groom, but he pushes it away. Water drags her daughter to her, into the deep pool.
Again the Mermaid on a forest lake. It has become a wandering flame and is doomed to eternal wanderings. Baba-yaga suggests removing the curse from her; for this, the Mermaid must kill the Prince. But does her hand rise on the one who is dearer to her than life? To Baba Yaga come the Forester and the Cook. They ask for a medicine for the Prince, who is yearning for depression: a passing infatuation with the Princess has passed, and the Prince’s thoughts belong to the bride that disappeared without trace. The water chases away the servants, but soon the Prince himself appears on the lake. He calls the Mermaid, and she appears from the water depth. The prince joyfully rushes forward, she stops him. The Mermaid is still fond of her fiancé. She forgives him his suffering. Her touch is deadly. But the Prince does not need a life without a beloved. He kisses the Mermaid and dies in her arms.