Press-release of the Czech Centers and the National Museum
The Metropolitan Opera in New York will premiere a new production of Rusalka. On the occasion of the world premiere of the new production of Dvořák’s work, the opera’s original manuscript from the collections of the National Museum of the Czech Republic will be exhibited outside its homeland for the very first time. American audiences can see the manuscript from 1. 2. to 23. 2.2017 at the gallery of the Czech Center New York. This project of the Czech Center New York, which offers opera lovers a wide range of programs, will be opened on 1 February 2017 by Daniel Herman, the Czech Minister of Culture.
The music of the world famous opera Rusalka will resound in the Metropolitan Opera, where it has been staged only twice since the first production in 1993. The Czech Center New York offered the Metropolitan Opera a month-long project, a highlight of which will be the arrival of the manuscript of Rusalka to New York for the very first time.
MICHAL LUKEŠ, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM:
“The National Museum manages the largest and the most significant collection of Dvořák-related materials in the world, and the exhibits on show are real treasures. Among them, the original manuscript of Rusalka stands out. The complete score will be available for browsing in electronic form on a tablet. “
The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the Czech Center New York, the National Museum of the Czech Republic, the Metropolitan Opera, the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and the Dvořák American Heritage Association. In addition to the manuscript, visitors can look forward to Dvořák’s American sketch book no. 6, the first edition of the opera's libretto, the composer's letters and the first recordings of arias from this opera, which are available on a tablet. Various costumes and scenic designs for the opera, created in the 20thcentury by prominent costume designers, will be on show, particularly those created for productions at the National Theatre in Prague.
On the occasion of the new staging of Dvořák’s Rusalka in New York, three famous performers of this role are coming – Gabriela Beňačková, who sang Rusalka in the Metropolitan in 1993, Magda Vašáryová, who played the unhappy nymph in the film version from 1977 (voiced by G. Beňačková) and the American soprano Renée Fleming, whose costumes for this role will be part of the exhibition.
MARTIN DVOŘÁK, THE CONSUL GENERAL FOR THE CZECH REPUBLIC:
“The beauty, melodiousness and temperament of Dvořák’s music conquered the world. It is no wonder that his music is welcomed and adored in the United States, the country on whose musical history this Czech genius had such an impact. The staging of Rusalka and, foremost, the National Museum’s exhibition, represent a significant cultural achievement in promoting the Czech Republic in the United States, and it has been a great honor for me to assume personal patronage of this event.“
The gala opening will be attended by Daniel Herman, the Czech Minister for Culture.
DANIEL HERMAN, THE MINISTER OF CULTURE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC:
”The beauty of the music and the suggestive power of the libretto, which is a drama about love, the search for the meaning of life, guilt and punishment and the highest sacrifice - the opera Rusalka offers all of this to a perceptive audience. In Rusalka’s final aria, we can also hear the voice of forgiveness, the all-healing balm for the scars of the human heart and the scars of the world. Let’s offer this voice, too, to listeners everywhere in the world as a very topical message.
Rusalka will forever remain one of the strongest works that the maestro Antonín Dvořák left to us. I am looking forward to the newly staged production in the Metropolitan Opera, and it is my honor to present to lovers of Dvořák’s music abroad the unique manuscript of this opera from the collection of the National Music in Prague.
My thanks go to all those who have participated in this project and all the other related special events, and so helped to spread the excellent reputation of Czech culture abroad. “
During the opening concert, "Rusalka in New York", the legend of Czech opera, soprano Gabriela Beňačková, and its hope for the future, tenor Petr Nekoranec (Metropolitan opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program), will perform with their American colleagues, bass David Leigh and pianist Ken Nod. Michael Beckerman, the most authoritative expert in Dvořák’s work, brings his musicologist’s insight.
BARBARA KARPETOVÁ, THE DIRECTOR OF CZECH CENTER NEW YORK:
“On the eve of the exhibition’s opening, the conductor of the new production of Rusalka, Sir Mark Elder, the current cast and also the patrons of the Metropolitan Opera are coming to see the manuscript of this opera by Antonín Dvořák, who joined his life with New York. The premiere of the new fairytale-like production of Rusalka by the director Mary Zimmerman, starring Kristine Opolais, will take place in the Metropolitan Opera on 2 February 2017. “
This project of the Czech Centers brings audiences in New York a deeper insight into the operatic work of Antonín Dvořák, the Czech composer who the Americans consider “their own”, but who they associate mainly with his ninth symphony, “From the New World”. A rich program of special events has been prepared, running from 1.2. to 23.2.2017, including special concerts, film screenings, lectures by musicologists and opera make-up artists and also a special menu. However, the National Museum exhibition Rusalka is an absolute hit among visitors.
The Rusalka project is the result of the collaboration of seven partners:
The Czech Center New York
The National Museum of the Czech Republic
The Consul General of the Czech Republic in New York
The Metropolitan Opera
The National Theatre in Prague
The Dvořák American Heritage Association
The Harmony Foundation