Excellence in Performing Arts Research


Antonin Dvořák’s operas, while well-loved in Czechoslovakia, were almost completely unknown in the United States until recent years because they were often considered musically and stylistically confused. Rusalka, his most renowned opera in Czechoslovakia, did not premiere on the popular stage until the Metropolitan Opera’s production in 1993 which featured acclaimed Czech singer Gabriela Beneckova. After many mediocre reviews, it did not appear again on the Met stage until 1997 when Renee Fleming played the title role. This paper draws from press reviews to argue that Renee Fleming and her performance of the well-known aria “Song to the Moon” are responsible for the opera’s prosperity in the United States. It also hypothesizes that success can be achieved not only through a complete, well-produced work of art, but also in the ability of a leading lady to carry a production.



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