The problem with opera is that even when the music is timeless, the storytelling can be so very dated. To fix this, Arizona Opera created a beauitful set and costumes for their performance of Rusalka - a fairy-tale libretto in Czech inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”.
The music is lovely, a mix of lush lyricism and emotive outbursts that will feel instantly familiar even to opera neophytes, thanks to generations of Hollywood composers emulating the Romantics. The tragic finale is sung to melancholy perfection.
The visuals are equally restrained and exquisite. A great white doorway, symbolic of the punctured divide between the world of the water nymphs and that of mortal men, dominates a simple unit set design.