As promised, time has arrived to write about the second performance I saw at the Semperoper. This thime it is not a Ballet but an Opera: Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak.
An Opera very new to me, never seen it before (actually not often performed in Italy). For this reason, I was looking forward to discovering what was waiting for me on stage. Will I like this Opera or not? Will the modern scenography and coreography the Semperoper always put on stage meet my taste or not? These were some of the questions in my head. I only had to wait the show to start to get the answers I was looking for.
At 7pm the curtains open and the show starts. What I see on scene is not so clear to me. A scene is repeted again and again, always exactly the same, like a song that once played till the end, it starts again and again.....it was like an introduction to the Opera itself, a kind of making the audience ready to what was coming to be performed very soon.
A few minutes later Rusalka starts.
On the scene appears a beautiful young woman in a metal silver dress, Rusalka, a nymph. Rusalka is unhappy. Although she sings in Czech language, Dvorak's mother tongue, the audience can feel she desires something she is not sure she will never have. The subtitles in German language help me to understand what's happening on stage.
Rusalka is in love with a Prince. Is this not strange? A "woman" belonging to the water world is madly in love with a man from the emerged world. Have we heard something similar in the past, maybe during our childhood? Well, the answer is yes. Suddenly I remember Hans Christian Andersen's "The little Mermaid". Also in this fairy tale the beautiful little Mermaid belonging to the water world is madly in love with a beautiful Prince from the emenged world.
Both the little Mermaid and Rusalka want their desire to become true: leave their world and become part of the new world, the emerged world. Starting a new life with the man they love. They wrongly believe that all will be fine there, the life easy and no difficulty arise.
Rusalka desperately asks her father, the Waterman, to help her in becoming a "real woman". Parents always play a key role in children's life, don't they?
This is not an easy decision for him. The Waterman knows the difficulties Rusalka will meet in her new life, he knows she will suffer and feel sad and alone but above all he deeply loves her. Rusalka has made her decision and he accepts it and leave her free to live her dream. It is not always easy for parents to leave children walk the path of life on their own legs!
Becoming a "real woman" has however a price (as all in life!). Rusalka has to give her beautiful voice to the witch who transforms her in a woman (the same happens to the little Mermaid). Now without her voice Rusalka enters in the emerged world.
Soon life shows to be not so easy as she thought. The Prince's love is reveled to be not so strong, being constantly temped by many "sexy" woman.
Rusalka starts to feel alone and sad and to be voiceless doesn't help her. She lives with pain and anxiety her new life and wishes she can have her old like back.
Often during the performace a column rises from the ground and goes up to the sky. Every time one of the characters is on it, the one the attention is focused on while all the rest of the scene takes place on the floor. I found this tricky very interesting.
I end writing that, as in Hans Christian Andersen's "The little Mermaid", there is no happy ending for Rusalka. As for all of us, life is not always easy. What we believe to be the best choice, the one that will make us happy, often shows to be not the right one, not the one that will make us happy. As always every choice and decision brings inside its consequences.