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Wiener Staatsoper

The story of a mermaid who falls in love with a human, abandons her life in the sea and fails in the world has been taken up by many a Europe's fairy tales and legends. One need only think of Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Little Mermaid, which enjoys enduring popularity to this day. Antonín Dvořák's Rusalka was also inspired by Andersen, but the opera, which premiered in 1901, also dealt with numerous other themes.

 His "lyrical fairy tale" expressed the pressing issues of the turn of the century, which Sigmund Freud summarized under the catchphrase of unease in culture. Civilization and nature, fears and longings, power relations and gender definitions collide in a psychologically exaggerated way. Rusalka's loss of language clearly reflects her fears of identification, exclusion and existence. Director Sven-Eric Bechtolf reflects these emotional and mental states in a surreal, unreal and oppressive world. The story of the renegade mermaid is told in haunting images between a snowy desert and barren woodland.

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