Dvorak might be better known for his New World Symphony but his charming take on The Little Mermaid – albeit in its more harrowing original form – is full of gorgeous music, imbued throughout with the unmistakable thumbprint of the Czech composer.
Melly Still’s Glyndebourne production is eye-catching, with atmospheric sets replete with extravagant mermaid costumes with long swishing tails, even if the multiple copies of the witch and the three wood nymphs did seem to clutter up the stage at times.
But this was really all about the singing, and the largely Eastern-European cast didn’t disappoint in this respect.
Wioletta Chodowicz’s Rusalka was superb overall, even though she was forced to deliver her famous act one aria lying on her back, hardly conducive to the best vocal control and tuning.
Ladislav Egr as the Prince was in fine voice, combining Italian lyricism with sheer dynamic potency, and with an especially secure high register.
While Misha Schelomianski’s costume as Vodnik was somewhat unedifying, he sang well, as did the spiteful Jezibaba (Anne Mason), and suitably glamorous Princess (Tatiana Pavlovskaya).
Leo McFall’s musical direction, the fine orchestra and chorus all combined to make this one of Glyndebourne’s most enjoyable offerings, and one which certainly deserves to be performed more often.
PHILIP R BUTTALL