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Dvořák’s Rusalka Dominated Bohemian National Hall and Metropolitan Opera

Premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s opera Rusalka at the famous Metropolitan Opera was held on February 2, 2017. Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York and Czech Center New York organized series of activities related to Dvořák’s opera attended by several representatives of Czech cultural institutions including Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Daniel Herman.

Main part of activities related to Rusalka premiere in Met is an exhibition at the Bohemian National Hall presenting not only original manuscript of the score of famous Dvořák’s opera (for the first time on display outside of the Czech Republic) but also other memorabilia connected to probably most famous Czech opera including Dvořák’s sketchbook that contains first ideas for Rusalka or genuine costume of famous Met’s Rusalka Renée Fleming. The exhibition was inaugurated on January 31 by Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman who highlighted the ability of Dvořák’s music to build bridges between both countries. William R. Miller, Chairman of Met’s Gala Committee, appreciated in his speech good collaboration between Met and Czech partners. The floor was given also to Director of Czech National Museum Michal Lukeš who is responsible for bringing the original manuscript to New York. Member of the Board of Dvořák American Heritage Association Michael Beckerman then shortly presented main information on Dvořák’s masterpiece.

A day before the premiere of Rusalka in Met, a solemn concert attended by over 300 guests was held in the Bohemian National Hall. Among present guests were Gabriela Beňačková, Met’s very first Rusalka back in 1993, Magdalena Vášáryová, who portrayed Rusalka in 1997 Peter Weigl movie, Jan Burian, Director of Czech National Theatre, Silvia Hroncová, Director of the National Theatre Opera, members of the Board of Metropolitan Opera, members of Consular Corps and other distinguished guests. During the concert, extraordinary young Czech singer Petr Nekoranec, currently attending Met’s Lindemann Program for young artists, Wendy Harmer and other Lindemann attendee David Leigh presented famous arias of Dvořák’s opera. Furthermore, Michael Beckerman offered valuable insight in the music and psychology of Rusalka during the concert as well.

The premiere of Rusalka in Met was held on February 2, the performance was applauded by audience and gained several positive reviews including one in New York Times. The premiere and the program in the Bohemian National Hall was also covered by Czech National TV.