Friday, April 25, 2008

Song of the Day... for the Inconstant Moon, Which Bewitches Me Constantly

"Song to the Moon"
(From Rusalka, music by Dvořák, libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil)

Silver moon in the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.

This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.

Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?

Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him.

Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!

Human soul, should it dream of me,
Let my memory wakened be.
Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane....

This ravishing opera was inspired by three fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid, Friedrich de la Motte Fouque's Undine, and Gerhart Hautpmann's The Sunken Bell.

Here is Renee Fleming singing this beautiful aria.

The photograph was taken on Lake Huron in 2005. We walked the beach every night after dinner until the sun was set. Mmmmmmmmm... bliss.


R.A.D. Stainforth said...

She’s welcome to paddle in my pool any time.

Rusalka contains some of Dvořák’s most gorgeous music. And when intelligently produced it’s a marvellous opera too. The notorious English National Opera production (by David Pountney) was actually excellent, one of the classics from the powerhouse years at the Coliseum, delving beneath the fairy tale surface to more psychological depths than are usually evident in more conservative productions. I’ve seen it in Brno too, and the production was pretty dull, but the music’s so marvellous that it was still worth it – especially with tickets being embarrassingly cheap (£1).

If you only see one Dvořák opera, this has to be the one. The opening trio of wood nymphs reminds me of some of Dvořák’s symphonic poems, most notably The Water Goblin.

The music is glorious, and Rusalka’s aria in the third act is even better than the much better known invocation to the moon in Act 1; and the duet at the end of the opera is utterly overpowering. The opera can sound Wagnerian (or at least it did when Mark Elder conducted it at the ENO) but the Czech recordings (including Sir Charles Mackerras, with a Czech orchestra) bring out a wonderfully sylvan side to the music.

The Pountney production used to be available commercially on video – it’s worth tracking down, because it was a breathtaking piece of theatre.

Bachelor said...

OK, OK! I've added you to my favorite blogs. Thanks for this gorgeous beautiful moon picture and sharing Renee Fleming's "Song to the Moon" I have a nice collection of opera and classical music. I listen to them constantly with my Cole Porter and big band music. I've wakened to a beautiful still Saturday morning. Coffee is on its way. I have two piano students this morning. What could be better? Thanks for setting my mood! :)

Bachelor said...

Blog Princess G,
Thanks for sharing the words to "Song to the Moon" (Rusalka). I must read more concerning this opera. Sometimes I feel very mistakenly located. I wish I were in a metropolitan area where I could regularly attend events that interest me. Have a great weekend. :)

willow said...

Lovely photo, lovely song....sigh...lovely post! :)

Blog Princess G said...

Thanks Mr. S... I just bought the DVD of this clip, but I'll look out for the Pountney. Toronto is getting the Theater Erfurt production next year, directed by Dmitri Bertman. Looking forward to it, especially Richard Paul Fink (another favourite bass-baritone) as the Water Gnome.

Sir B: Ok, Ok, I'm adding you too! You teach piano... I bet you have some good anecdotes to share. ;)

Willow: I'm with you. Sigh. AND I'm eating a Madagascar truffle. Yes, having an indulgent Saturday morning before I get going. :)