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As ever, Dvorák's orchestration is startlingly good. Ring-like bassoons and Tristanesque dark woodwind (we get a quick burst from Wagner's Act III Prelude at the same point in this opera) make as early an entrance as the Alberich-like Goblin himself; the cor anglais takes up from oboe near the end of Rusalka's 'Mesicku' (Song to the Moon) -- on the first night Jayne Wilson seemed a bit nervy, and uneven in passing notes : never quite floating, but touching nonetheless. The bassoons, too, mistuned a crucial open 5th heralding Jezibaba's aria.

Jayne Watson in the title role and Fiona MacDonald as the witch Jezibaba in Dvorák's 'Rusalka', designed by Ian McKillop. © John Credland LBIPP 2001

No matter : shrill orchestral witchery (to match Fiona MacDonald's powered delivery) and some vivid tempi soon made up. Secret's pacing of the Prince's 'Vidino divna' (a kind of Siegmund's song) was perfection itself (preferable to Mackerras's -- and subtler, to my ears) and much else of the evening's music too (the Gamekeeper's aria and staff gossip, the Princess's music, the dance, the ceremonial music and a beautifully sustained build to the end of Act II, plus much of Act III culminating in the Prince's moving embrace of his own fate).

Jayne Watson (Rusalka) and David Watkin-Holmes (The Prince) in Act III of Dvorák's 'Rusalka', designed by Ian McKillop. © John Credland LBIPP 2001


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Copyright © 7 August 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK





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