Opera in Four Acts
by Alexander Dargomyzhsky
English Language Premiere
Translated from the Russian
by Emily R. Lehrman and Leonard Lehrman
in Concert with Piano
Anastasiya Roytman singing Lehrman's setting of Pushkin's "Winter Morning"
preceded at 2:15 p.m. by Presentation of Commemorative Plaque
honoring Emily R. Lehrman (1923-2015)
Sunday November 22, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.
Room 264, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, CUNY

from camcorder
Prof. Thomas Bird with Leonard Lehrman, presenting commemorative plaque honoring Emily R. Lehrman.
Leonard Lehrman displays the mermaid plaque presented to him on his August 20th birthday by the chorus.
Soprano Anastasiya Roytman singing Lehrman's setting of Pushkin's "Winter Morning"
Prelude to the Production
Helene Williams as Natasha, Gregory Mercer as her lover, The Prince, David Anchel as her father, The Miller. Natasha is incredulous that the Prince is leaving her.
Dargomyzhsky's Rusalka - Production Photos
The Prince has his Groom (Bill Castleman) bring a gift to Natasha.
A necklace!
Natasha is relieved and happy -- the Prince still loves her.
But the Prince does indeed leave her. Natasha blames her father for her predicament (she is pregnant with the Prince's child), and when she lashes out at the Miller in public, everyone chastises her. She feels stifled.
The Prince has given her a Bridal Wreath "as a seal" on their love. But Natasha is furious that he is marrying someone else. She tears off the wreath and throws herself into the Dniepr River. Everyone knows that she will drown!
Act I
Act II
The Prince and his bride, The Princess (Perri Sussman) vow their love to each other at their wedding.
In this scene, David Anchel sings the role of the Matchmaker. The Prince and Princess are joined by the Princess's duenna, Olga, sung by Kathryn Wieckhorst.  Natasha has turned into a Rusalka (mermaid) and is haunting the wedding. She interrupts the festivities with a lament about a beautiful maiden who drowns herself and curses her beloved. The sad song casts a pall over the gathering.
Act III, Scene 1
The Princess is despondent because, after twelve years of marriage, she is ignored by her husband, who seems to prefer riding his horse and hunting to tenderness and companionship. She suspects that he might have a "secret sweetheart."  Her duenna, Olga, tries to cheer her up with a folk song.
The Huntsman (Bill Castleman again) tells the Princess about the Prince's activities. When she leaves, he expresses his frustrations: "Those husbands and their wives: Why can't they just stay at home... or leave them?!"
Act III, Scene 2
Natasha is now Queen of the Dniepr and of the Mermaids. The Mermaids come onto shore at night and bathe in the moonlight.
After twelve years, the Prince still cannot get Natasha out of his mind. He is remorseful and visits the site of the mill where he and she were so happy.
The Prince encounters the Miller; but the Miller went mad after Natasha drowned and claims, "I'm no miller; I'm the local Raven!" The Prince confesses that he still loves Natasha; the Miller reveals that he has a grandchild -- a Rusalochka (little mermaid). The Prince invites the Miller to his palace, but the Miller refuses, fearing that the Prince "will choke [him] with a necklace."
Act IV
The 12-year-old daughter of Rusalka and the Prince, Rusalochka (Jackie Bakewell), swims onto the scene. Rusalka tells her that a man -- her father -- will come today. "You will invite him to my palace. Tell him I still love him. Say, 'She waits for you!'"
The Prince is entranced by the sound of Natasha/Rusalka's voice. He goes to her....
Rusalka welcomes the Prince to her Palace -- in the Dniepr. The Mermaids assist.
Rusalka puts the Prince to sleep. The opera ends with the mermaids triumphant.

This page was last updated: December 14, 2015