Antonín Dvořák


Kristine Opolais stars in the role that helped launch her international career, the mythical Rusalka, who sings the haunting “Song to the Moon.” Mary Zimmerman brings her wondrous theatrical imagination to Dvořák’s fairytale of love and longing, rejection and redemption. Brandon Jovanovich, Jamie Barton, Katarina Dalayman, and Eric Owens complete the all-star cast, and Mark Elder conducts.

Production a gift of the Betsy and Ed Cohen/Areté Foundation

Additional funding from Mr. William R. Miller, in memory of Irene D. Miller; and the National Endowment for the Arts

Read Synopsis
  • Sung In
  • Czech
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 40 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 57 mins
  • Intermission 30 mins
  • Act II 46 mins
  • Intermission 30 mins
  • Act III 57 mins
  • Opera Ends
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World premiere: National Theater, Prague, 1901. The only one of Dvořák’s operas to gain an international following (so far), Rusalka is in many ways a definitive example of late Romanticism—containing folklore, evocations of the natural and the supernatural worlds, and even a poignant interpretation of the idea of a love-death. The story has a strong national flavor as well as universal appeal, infused by the Romantic supernaturalism of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s novella Undine (previously set as an opera by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tchaikovsky, and others) and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.


Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841–1904) was celebrated internationally during his lifetime for his chamber, choral, and symphonic music, while his nine operas found little renown beyond his native Bohemia. He was especially popular in London and in New York, where he served for a while as director of the short-lived National Conservatory of Music. Jaroslav Kvapil (1868–1950) was a Czech author and poet who had written the libretto for Rusalka before Dvořák became interested in it.

Production Mary Zimmerman

Set Designer Daniel Ostling

Costume Designer Mara Blumenfeld

Lighting Designer T. J. Gerckens

Choreographer Austin McCormick

Antonín Dvořák


Antonín Dvořák


The opera takes place in an unspecified fairy-tale setting. Contrasting unspoiled and “honest” nature (the woods and lake of the framing acts) with corrupt human culture (the Prince’s palace in Act II) was a favorite theme of Romantic artists.