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Rusalka

Song to the Moon

 
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Renee Fleming


Czech composer Antonín Dvořák composed his opera Rusalka based on Czech fairy tales, specifically the ones about rusalkas, female water nymphs who live in lakes. His ninth opera, Rusalka, is most famous for this aria, Song of the Moon, sung here by Renee Fleming.

Rusalka, a water nymph has fallen in love with a human prince and wants to become human so she can experience human love. She sings her Song to the Moon, asking it to tell the prince that she loves him.

The witch Ježibaba advises Rusalka against becoming human – if she does so, she will lose her ability to talk. Worse, if the prince betrays her, both of them will be eternally damned and she will become a bludička, a spirit of death, emerging from the depths of the lake only to lure humans to their deaths. Rusalka agrees to these conditions, and drinks a potion that makes her human.

In this video, Fleming sings the aria in Czech, and the subtitles are also in Czech. The English lyrics appear below:

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wonder by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me,
Let my memory wakened be.
Moon, oh moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane...

Jessica Knight







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