Renée Fleming sings one of her signature roles, the title character in Dvořák’s sumptuously melodic Rusalka, on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, May 18, 2014, at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera Friday, May 30, 2014, at 9 p.m.)
The story of the opera, which is about a water spirit’s tragic romance with a human prince, is drawn from several folktale sources including Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Star conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a cast that also includes Piotr Beczala as the handsome Prince whom Rusalka yearns to love; Dolora Zajick as the cackling swamp witch Ježibaba; Emily Magee as the Foreign Princess, Rusalka’s rival; and John Relyea as Rusalka’s father, the Water Sprite.
The American soprano Renée Fleming won the Met’s National Council Auditions 25 years ago singing the forlorn mermaid’s famous aria “Song to the Moon” and has sung the role of Rusalka more than any other artist in the Metropolitan Opera’s history.
“Portraying a water nymph who gives up a life of enchantment to pursue mortal love with a handsome prince, Ms. Fleming sang with tonal splendor and commendable ease,” enthused The New York Times.
Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham hosts the broadcast. Rusalka was originally seen live in movie theaters on February 8, 2014, as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.