What to Expect from Rusalka?

Fairy tales may not literally come true, but the history of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka, particularly in the United States, bears some resemblance to the genre it represents. An instant success in the composer’s Czech homeland at its 1901 premiere, Rusalka fared less well in other countries and was rarely performed abroad for more than half a century.

  • Classroom Activity

    A full-length activity, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.

  • Musical Highlights

    Three "Musical Highlights" designed to focus on bits of music from Falstaff to cultivate familiarity with the work.

  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.

  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts and humanities.

Rusalka at the Met

The happy ending began in 1988, when a graduate of the Juilliard School from upstate New York won the Met’s National Council Auditions with her performance of Rusalka’s “Song to the Moon.” Two years later, the Seattle Opera and Houston Grand Opera invited the young soprano to sing the title role in the opera’s first major U.S. productions. Audiences began to fall in love with Rusalka—and with its star, Renée Fleming.

The opera reached the stage of the Met in 1993, and Ms. Fleming, who first sang it there in 1997, returns this season to headline the same classic production by Otto Schenk in this Live in HD transmission. It’s a perfect staging for young people, full of fairy-tale magic. It also allows room to look at the work’s allegorical qualities—which are explored in the activities in this educators’ guide. While many students may recognize the story of Rusalka from other incarnations of the same source material—most notably the animated Disney film The Little Mermaid—this guide will help them navigate the sophisticated differences found in the operatic version by Antonín Dvořák and Jaroslav Kvapil and examine its mystery and beauty. Above all, the guide seeks to enhance students’ understanding, appreciation, and joy as they experience both the supernatural and the profoundly human aspects of this opera and its Live in HD presentation.