Conductor: Tomáš Hanus
Direction: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
The story of a mermaid who falls in love with a human, abandons her life in the sea and fails in the world has been taken up by many a European fairytale and legend. One need only think of Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Little Mermaid, which continues to be popular to this day.
Though Antonín Dvořák looked to Andersen with Rusalka, he also brought in numerous other themes to the opera, which premiered in 1901. Those pressing questions of the turn of the century found expression in the Freudian element beneath the lyrical fairytale – that of cultural disquiet. Civilization and nature, fears and longings, power relations and gender definitions collide in a psychologically exaggerated way. Rusalka's loss of speech clearly reflects the fears of identification, exclusion and existence.
Director Sven-Eric Bechtolf displays these emotional and mental states in a surreal, inhospitable and oppressive world: set among a snowy desert landscape and barren underbrush, it tells the haunting story of the renegade mermaid who falls in love with a prince who does not live up to her standards