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Rusalka Dvorak 's opera about a water spirit who falls in love with a prince and takes on human form only to discover the treachery and cruelty of men and women. This is a new revival by English National Opera of David Pountney's production, in which the story is interpreted as an allegory of adolescent longing and the loss of innocence. Dvorak started work on Rusalka at the time that Sigmund Freud 's The
Interpretation of Dreams was published (which opened up for the first time the world of the subconscious) and it is in that Freudian world of symbols - particularly of moon and water - that the director David Pountney and designer Stefanos Lazardis set their production for ENO, which was first seen in 1983. Rusalka's wish to change from her fishy, water-nymph state into a hot-blooded human is a metaphor for a girl's passage from childhood into sexual maturity at the turn of the century. The whole opera is set in an anything-but-cosy
Edwardian nursery, where everything is a virginal white. This performance was given last month at the London Coliseum.
English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra, conductor Richard Hickox
First wood nymph:
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Feedback about Opera on 3, BBC Radio 3, 18.30, 17 October 1998
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