Coming up in Philly music: The water nymph’s revenge

Soprano Brianna Meese as Rusalka. (Photo by Leonard Meirson for Russian Opera Workshop.)

Czech composer Antonín Dvořák and the Russian composer Alexander Dargomyzhsky both wrote versions of Rusalka that have become cornerstones of their countries' national opera repertoires. The next Russian Opera Workshop performances offer Philadelphians a chance to hear the older, lesser-known Russian version in a concert-style performance. Dargomyzhsky based his opera on a play by Pushkin and the result has been highly praised for its lyrical music and psychological insight. In the Russian version, a peasant girl drowns herself when she is betrayed by a prince. She becomes a water nymph — a rusalka — and her new incarnation seeks revenge.

The Russian Opera Workshop is an annual summer event directed by Ghenady Mierson, an opera coach with an international reputation who teaches at Curtis and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Rising young vocalists from all over the world spend part of their summer studying the Russian opera repertoire. Local audiences can hear free performances of unfamiliar repertoire and check out some of the newer voices on the international opera circuit.

The Russian Opera Workshop will present Rusalka on August 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30pm at the Helen Corning Warden Theater at the Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia. Admission is free but the theater is small and intimate, so it’s recommended you come early.