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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

The Surprising Staging of the Symphony's "Rusalka"

San Antonio Symphony
Sebastian Lang-Lessing

If you’re used to going to see the symphony at the Majestic, there is the stage, and there is the audience and ne’er the twain shall meet…but not so with “Rusalka.”

“Rusalka is kind of an adult fairytale. This is rather a grand opera." 

James Robinson has traveled from St. Louis to stage “Rusalka.” As he explains, the details of the opera itself demand a lot from everyone in the production.

“Dvorak wrote this opera "Rusalka" about a water nymph. So she comes in and out of a pond, a body of water, as does her father, so we’ve created a pit onstage to work as our pond."  

But its interesting production aspects don’t end there. Robinson:

"So there’s a large party scene with the chorus, some of the most beautiful chorus music that Dvorak ever wrote. And just because it requires so many people, we’re going to put the chorus in the theater, itself, in the house."

The imaginary production wall between the Symphony, the San Antonio Mastersingers, The Opera San Antonio and the audience…will be thin at best.

“So what we’re doing is that we’re bringing this as much into the audience as possible, and making it a real theatrical experience.”

And as Robinson explains, there is yet more that’s unlike what we’ve come to expect.

"So there are going to be a lot of special effects with lighting and with costumes to evoke this fairytale world."

Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing is a fan of Robinson’s staging.

"Having James Robinson Directing it will actually really help showing and understanding the quite complex story."

The anticipation has been building to see the San Antonio production of the opera Renee Fleming is performing on Broadway. Your chance to see it starts Friday.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii