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07:30 PM
02:00 PM
07:30 PM
07:30 PM
07:30 PM
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Sung in Czech with projected English translation


Appropriate for all ages

Running Time

3 hours, 1 minute
Number of intermissions: 2


A legend of mermaids, mere mortals, and sylvan glades.


Few myths have so strong a hold on the imagination as that of the Little Mermaid, and no one ever gave her a more beautiful Song to the Moon than the great Czech composer Dvorák in this, his most romantic opera.


Be transported to a mystical world of water sprites, witches, and wood nymphs. In exchange for love, Rusalka will relinquish not only her mermaid magic, but also her voice.



This production was created by Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center

Act I

On a moonlit night in a meadow by the lake, the Wood Nymphs are dancing and playing with Vodník, a water sprite and the father of Rusalka. When the Wood Nymphs leave, Rusalka tells her father of her love for the Prince who often swims in the lake. She wishes to become human and have a soul. Horrified, Vodník warns her of the consequences, but finally relents and sends her to Ježibaba, a witch, to ask for advice. The price of becoming human is very high: as a mortal Rusalka must remain mute, and if she does not succeed in keeping the Prince’s love, she must return to the waters as a spirit of death, condemned for eternity to the depths of the lake, rising by night to the surface only to lure her love and other souls to their deaths. Rusalka, however, loves the Prince so much that she is willing to accept the cost and asks Ježibaba to make her a mortal. The next day, the Prince arrives with a hunting party. When the white doe he has been chasing vanishes, he dismisses the other hunters. Suddenly Rusalka appears to him, transformed into a lovely maiden. Unable to speak, she throws herself into his arms. He is enchanted by her beauty and carries her off to his castle.

Act II

At the castle, the Gamekeeper and Turnspit gossip about the forthcoming marriage of the Prince to the strange, speechless maiden he has brought home from the woods. They are glad that his interest in the girl is already waning and that his attention is turning towards a Foreign Princess. The Prince enters and asks a sad Rusalka why she does not burn with the passion he feels. The Foreign Princess, jealous of Rusalka, talks seductively to the Prince. Rusalka realizes the threat to her happiness and tells all to her father. He advises her to persevere, but she is no match for the worldly Princess, and the fickle Prince rejects her. At that moment Vodník drags Rusalka away and the Prince falls stupefied. The Foreign Princess laughs.


Alone by the moonlit lake, Rusalka sadly reflects on her fate. Ježibaba hobbles out of her cottage and sees Rusalka, who once more begs her for help. Ježibaba produces a knife, telling her to take it and kill the Prince, since only warm human blood can remove the curse: but
Rusalka throws the knife into the lake. Resigned to her fate, she disappears into the lake. The terrified Gamekeeper and Turnspit have braved the woods to seek the advice of Ježibaba; their Prince has fallen under the spell of a sorceress who bewitched him and then abandoned him to despair. Rising from the lake in a fury, Vodník drives them away, swearing vengeance on the ignorance and deception of the human race. The Wood Nymphs come again to the lake to dance, but Vodník is in no mood to play; he tells them of Rusalka’s fate and they sadly disperse. The remorseful Prince returns to the lake, driven by a longing to see Rusalka again. He calls upon heaven and earth to help him find her. Calling softly to him she appears as a spirit in the moonlight and he rushes into her arms; her kiss draws the life from him and he dies blissfully. Having willingly renounced both the mortal world and her own watery realm to have known even for a brief moment the ecstasy of human love, Rusalka sinks back into the lake.


Grand Underwriter


Vinson & Elkins LL

Edward and Frances Bing Fund

Judy and Richard Agee

Bank of America

Winston & Strawn LLP


Ana María Martínez
Brian Jagde
Richard Paul Fink
Vodnik, the Water Goblin
Jill Grove
Maida Hundeling
Foreign Princess
Keith Jameson
D’Ana Lombard
First Wood Nymph
Sofia Selowsky
Second Wood Nymph
Megan Mikailovna Samarin
Third Wood Nymph
Kitchen Girl


Harry Bicket
Melly Still
Donna Stirrup
Revival Director
Rae Smith
Set & Costume Designer
Paule Constable
Original Lighting Designer
Jeremy Turnbull
Associate Lighting Designer
Rick Nodine
Movement Director
Christian From
Ballet Master/Dance Captain
Richard Bado
Chorus Master

HGO Orchestra


HGO Chorus


* HGO debut
** HGO Studio Artist
*** Former HGO Studio Artist
"Ana María Martínez sang...with glamorous sound and natural ease."
-Houston Chronicle