Rusalka at Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen – synopsis

Rusalka at Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen - synopsis

Rusalka at Royal Danish Opera Copenhagen – synopsis

Composer and librettist

Music: Antonin Dvorák|Lyrics: Jaroslav Kvapil, after Friedrich de la Motte Foqués telling Undine and H C Andersen´s Little Mermaid.


Libretto in Italian


Worldpremiere: Prag, Nationalteatern 31 mars 1901. Swedish premiere: Stockholm Operahögskolan 14 november 1992.Seen performance: 12.3.2008 Den Kongelige Opera Köpenhamn


Rusalka. a waterspirit, sees the Prince – but he cannot see her. Three Waterspirits, her sisters, tease the Watergoblin.

She discloses her desire to be human to the Watergoblin; human beings have eternals souls and are full of love.

Regretfully, the Watergoblin instructs her to visit Jezibaba – the Witch.

She asks the Moon if he has seen the Prince.

R invokes Jezibaba and the witch is prepared to change Rusalka into a human being.

However; she will be unable to speak to human beings, and should the Prince betray their love, a curse will pursue R to eternity.

The Prince returns to the lake and meets R in human form.


The Kitchen boy complains to the Gamekeeper about the Prince´s faschination with R. The Gamekeeper fears he will marry her.

The Kitchen boy however, is confident that the wedding can be averted. Already, a visiting Princess has attracted the Prince.

The Prince enters with R, frustrated at her inability to return his warmth and passion.

The Princess resolves to destroy the Prince´s relationship with R.

Guests arrive and dance.

The Watergoblin is unhappy for her and her choice to live among human beings.

The guests sing her a wedding song. She finds the guests intolerable.

She seeks the Watergoblin – and tells him hat the Prince loves another woman.

R returns to the Prince and finds him with the Princess.

R is evicted by the Prince and the guests.


R is now cursed to live among Undead women, who lure men to their deads in the water.

Jezibaba tells her she may return to her original form if she murders the Prince with a knife.

R throws the knife in the water.

Her sisters banish her from their company – she must live with the Undead.

Terrified, the Kitchenboy and the Gamekeeper come to plead with Jezibaba to find a cure for the Prince´s intense despair. They are denounced by the Watergoblin

Three of R´s sisters offer Jezibaba their air as ransom for her. Jezibaba throws their hair in the water.

The Prince finds R. She tells him she is now Undead and that her kiss would kill him.

The Prince insists she kiss him.

She obeys and he dies.

Rusalka leaves to live among the Undead into eternity.

Richard Jones

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