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One could hardly find better singers than we heard last week at Severance Hall. For this, Mr Welser-Möst gets full marks. They were splendid, across the board, as the lucky Salzburgers will hear for themselves in August. In the title role, Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund was an ideal choice for her silvery voice which floated easily over the orchestra. Her considerable acting skills allowed her to portray the many emotional sides of the water sprite, from the hopeful young girl in love, to the disappointed cast-off woman, or finally, the unhappy woman, resigned to her fate.

Alan Held as the Water Goblin, Camilla Nylund as Rusalka and the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz-Welser Möst. Photo © 2008 Roger Mastroianni
Alan Held as the Water Goblin, Camilla Nylund as Rusalka and the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz-Welser Möst. Photo © 2008 Roger Mastroianni

Her father, the Water-Goblin, was warmly sung by the American bass-baritone Alan Held, showing the many sides of a father, trying to figure out what to do for his love-lorn daughter. In some ways, the role is reminiscent of the father-daughter relationship of Wotan and Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, although here, the father doesn't himself perform the magic to isolate his daughter, but instead sends her off to the witch for a magic spell.

And what a witch! Wow. German mezzo Birgit Remmert was a truly formidable Jezibaba, whose mere glance could express more than many a long-winded speech. Her voice is remarkable throughout its large range, with no demarcation between chest and head voices. She's superb in both of them.

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Copyright © 12 June 2008 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA

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