The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 8, Episode 5 - Dvorák: Rusalka - full transcript

The moon is over the lake!

She peers into the deep...

...and the Water Gnome nods his green head!

Who's stealing through the night?

Water Gnome, the moon has risen!
She's looking through your window.

Soon she'll break down the door to your silver palace!

The moon drifts over the water.

Breezes dance on the lake, waking the Water Gnome.

Water Gnome, Water Gnome.

Bubbles are rising from the depths!

Behold, the Water Gnome appears!

The Water Gnome wants a new wife.

Which of us will win the honor
of fixing his bath, combing his hair...

...and playing nursemaid to his wife?

I welcome you all to the lake.

Was it too gloomy for you in the woods?

In the deep I have untold splendors
and hundreds of golden fish!

All I need do is reach out...

...seize one of you, and drag you down!

Catch us if you can, Water Gnome!

Catch us if you can!

The one you catch will give you a kiss.

And your wife will box your ears!

Catch us if you can, Water Gnome!

Insolent wenches!

There they go.

They dart up hill and down dale.

Ah, to be young.

Water Gnome...dear Father!

Curse it, child!

My nets will dry out in this moonlight!

Father, stay with me until the waters rise...

...for I am unhappy.


So unhappy I could die!

In my realm?

I can't believe it!

I want to leave this place.

I want to be mortal, to walk in the sun!

I want to leave the deep waters
and walk in the sun.

I can scarcely believe it!

To become mortal?

A human being?

It was you who told me about them.

That they have souls, which we do not.

And that these souls
rise up to heaven when they die.

And their bodies turn to nothing.

Remain in the water's embrace.

Do not wish for a soul.

A soul is a thing full of wickedness–

And love!

By the eternal waters,
are you saying you love a mortal?

He often comes here to visit me.

He leaves the shore
and hurries into my watery caress.

Yet I am only a wave.

He cannot see my true being.

I must become a woman.

He must be able to embrace me.

He must be able to embrace me
the way I embrace him.

And to kiss me!

Because of you, my daughter,
your sisters will weep every night.

Once you belong to a mortal, they cannot help you.

Father, he must be able to see me.

How can I make that happen?

You are lost forever...

...if you surrender to a mortal.

It's useless to try luring you
back to me in the depths.

Ask the witch Ježibaba for help.

Alas, my poor, pale Rusalka!

Moon in the heavens...

...your light shines on everyone, near and far.

You see where mortals dwell...

...throughout the vast world.

You see where mortals dwell...

...throughout this vast world.

Moon, tell me, where is my beloved?

Tell me, where is he?

Tell him, silver moon...

...that I am holding him in my arms.

He should dream of me... least for a while.

He should dream of me, at least for a while.

Shed your light upon him, oh, so far away.

Shed your light, and tell him I await him.

If he is dreaming of me, let him wake.

Moon, do not vanish!

The water is cold.


Poor, pale Rusalka...alas!


Lamenting, sighing, weeping.

Who wakes me before dawn?

Ježibaba, help me!

Free me from these waters!

I hear something! Someone's there!
Who is it? Speak!

It is Rusalka, the water nymph.

Dear Aunt, give me a potion!

If you're a nymph, show yourself to me.

The waves won't let me.

The water lilies hold me prisoner!

Break loose and come to me!

Waves, set her free!

Let her feet touch the ground!

Little feet, carry her along.

See, they already know how to walk!

Ježibaba! Help me!

You, in your wisdom, know all.

You have divined the secrets of nature.

In the dark of night you enter human dreams.

You understand the eternal elements,
concocting cures and poisons.

You can build
and you can destroy, kill and create.

You can change a man
into a monster, and back again.

You know the mysteries of transformation!

You frighten us nymphs at night,
and brew strange potions for human ills.

You inhabit our world,
and the world of humans.

Help me, I beg you!

Help me, worker of miracles!

You can do anything!

I know, I know. That's what everybody says.

That's why they come to me.

Listen well before you drink my potion.

You have pearls, and you have beauty.
What will you give me if I help you?

All I have is yours...

...if you will change me into a human being!

That's all? Nothing more?

That's why you came to me?

Weary of the water,
you want a human body, to love and be loved.

To kiss and be kissed.
I know, that's why they all come to me!

In your wisdom, you know all.

Give me a human body and a human soul.

By the devil, I'll do it!

But in return, you must give me
your transparent water veil.

Should you fail to win your love,
you will be cursed!

If you lose the love you pursue,
the waters will chain you to the deep.

Even as a mortal you must suffer.
To every human ear you will be mute!

Can you be silent among them?

Don't you wish to speak
to the one whose love you seek?

If I can win his love...

...I will gladly be silent.

He is yours, but mark me well.

If you return accursed to your native waters...

...your lover will die there as well and share your fate.

Eternal damnation!

Give me a human soul...

...and my love will triumph over sorcery.

Hurry up and come into my cottage!

We'll mix a potion.

Rusalka will drink it.

And then, not another word!



A mist is on the meadow!

Dragon's blood, just a drop,
and ten drops of bile.

Beating heart of a bird.
See how the cauldron boils!

Look lively, all of you, and stir the bubbling brew.


Don't be afraid!

This will make her human.

Once she drinks it, her tongue will turn to wood!

Look lively, all of you,
pour the brew down her throat!

And then, not another word!

Not another word!

A hunter was riding through the woods,
when he saw a white doe.

Her eyes were large and dark.
Will my arrow find its prey?

Young hunter, ride on!
Do not take aim at the white doe.

Shield yourself from her gaze!

Will my arrow find its prey?

I saw her here, but then she vanished.

Through valleys, over mountains
roams this strange prey.

Now its tracks have vanished.

The water, full of mystery, lures me to it... if its embrace would cool the ardor of the hunt.

My steps are uncertain.

What is this strange feeling?

My arms have no strength.
Since the hunt began, I sensed something.

I felt some magic holding me under its spell!

That was no doe! Stop, young hunter!

May God protect you!

Your heart is dead.

What did your arrow hit?

The hunt is over. Return to the castle.

There is a strange magic in the woods,
and a yet stranger one in my heart.

Return home, friends!

I shall remain here.

Divine one, are you real?

Are you here to protect
that creature I've been chasing?

Are you here to plead for her life,
sister of the white doe...

...or are you offering yourself as my trophy?

Does a secret seal your lips, or are you mute?

If your lips are mute,
my kiss will make them speak.

Reveal the mystery that lured me here,
over rocky paths... that on this blissful day,
I can bask in the magic of your eyes!

What do you conceal in your heart?

If it is love for me, speak!

Sisters! One of us is missing!

Where have you gone, dear sister?

Through the valleys, over the mountains!

Sister, where are you?

I know you are only a vision that will vanish...

...disappearing in the mist.

But until you do, stay with me!

The hunt is over, but what of that?
You are my prize!

Golden star in the night,
dreamlike vision....

Come with me!

Come with me!

What's going on here, boy?

What festivities are they preparing in the castle?

Guests fill the hall, the kitchen is humming...

...and the tables are set with strange cutlery.

We never stop from morning until night, Uncle Vanek!

From dawn until dusk, we work without rest.


Have you ever heard of such a thing?

The Prince found a strange creature in the woods.

And he will very likely marry her!

He found her in those deep, dark woods.

But wherever she comes from, she scares me!

She doesn't say a word...
hasn't a drop of blood.

And she goes around as if she were in a trance.

What a fine bride she'll make!

Then the rumors I've heard are all true.

It will all come to no good.

It will be as you say.

May God protect us!

This old huntsman suspects
sorcery behind the Prince's love.

The woods are filled with evil spirits.

Strange creatures gather there at midnight.

If you are weak in body or soul... will be caught by Ježibaba.

And then the Water Gnome
will drag you down into the deep.

Those who see the wood nymphs unclothed...

...go mad with desire!

God protect us from such wickedness!

Uncle, I'm scared!

That doesn't surprise me.

May the Lord have mercy on you for your sins.

Our Prince was once happy,
but how he has changed!

He seems as if in a dream.

His old nurse prays for him every day.

The priest came to warn him,
but all he said was...

"No! She stays here!"

That explains all the guests
and the ransacked pantry...

...and why I had to deliver so much game.

Luckily, it's all for nothing.

Another woman will soon spoil things.

The old nurse told us
that the Prince has a fickle heart.

His love has cooled.

Another has replaced it.

A beautiful Foreign Princess!

May the Lord protect him!

I'd chase the witch away
before she dragged me down to hell!

I say drive her out!

Here comes the Prince with that creature!

I don't want to see them!

You've been here for a week...

...and you're still like an apparition.

I search your gaze in vain
to unlock the secret of your soul.

Will our marriage bring me what I've desired?

Will you ever burn with love,
as a woman should?

Why is your embrace so cold?

Why do you flee from passion?

Why am I afraid when I'm in your arms?

I try in vain to banish my fears,
but I can't break free of you.

Yet even if you were a hundred times colder...

...I would still have to possess you!

(It isn't love, but anger that I feel.)

(Anger at seeing her where I should be!)

(If I can't be his,
then they shall never be happy!)

The Prince will perhaps remember...

...that although he is in love, he is also a host.

Must we all look on in silence at your happiness?

Princess, your reproach is just.

And I willingly accept it.

Even the bridegroom is,
above all, your servant!

How can it be that this beauty
who rules your heart...

...does not reproach you
for neglecting your guests?

Or are her eyes so full of love...

...that she speaks to you
with her gaze alone?

She has merely forgotten
to remind me of my duty.

Let me try to make amends to you, Princess.

What is the matter?
Why are you trembling?

Go now and prepare yourself for the ball.

Wear your most beautiful gown.

He may pay court to me...

...but you have his love!


Poor, pale Rusalka...

...caught in the humans' web.

All the world cannot give you
what abounds in my watery realm.

Even if you were human a hundred times over... would never escape
the water's ancient bonds.

If he loved you a hundred times as much...

...he would never be yours.

No matter what, he would never be yours.

Poor, pale Rusalka...

...victim of humans' deceit!

The water longs to hold you in its embrace.

If you return to your sisters,
you will bring death with you.

If you return to your sisters,
you will bring death with you.

You'll return, weary of life, cursed by all of nature.

Damned in a world of splendor.
Such sorrow!

Poor, pale Rusalka...

...caught in the humans' web!

White roses bloomed along the road.

A young man rode to his bride
on a day bright with promise.

Hurry, lad, for soon you will become a man.

When you return, red roses will be in bloom.

The white blossoms were the first ones
to succumb to the rays of the sun.

But all the fiery roses
will adorn your bridal chamber.

White water lilies will be your sad companions.

No red roses will cover your marriage bed.

White water lilies will be your sad companions.

No red roses will cover your marriage bed.

Rusalka, do you know me?

Father, dearest Father!

I come to your splendid castle,
and I find you weeping!

Save me, Father!

I am so afraid!

Woe to me for betraying you
and for knowing humans!

Woe! Woe!

Woe to me for knowing humans!

He has been captured by another's beauty...

...a fierce, human beauty.

And he has forgotten his Rusalka of the lake.

Rejected by one who was so in love with you?

You must not give up!

You cannot give up!

It is useless, for my heart is empty.

All my charms are in vain,
for I am only half a woman.

He has forgotten his Rusalka of the lake!

It is useless. He has forgotten me.

The Princess's eyes blaze with passion!

Accursed human passion!

I am a daughter of the chill waters.
Passion was not my birthright.

Passion was not my birthright.

It is useless, for my heart is empty.

All my charms are in vain,
for I am only half a woman.

I am cursed!

He has forgotten me.
I am a silent echo of the elements.

Neither woman nor water nymph,
I cannot die, and I cannot live.

I am cursed by you, and I am lost to him.

There they are.

Father, oh Father... me!

Suddenly there is a strange fire in your eyes.

I listen to your words, and I am enchanted.

Your words are now sweeter,
your manner more ardent.

Prince, what is the meaning of this change in you?

Where is your chosen bride?

Where is the one without voice or name?

Is she hiding,
so as not to see how you've changed?

Where is she?

God alone knows.

You are the cause of this change in me.

Something more than the summer night
has made me surrender to your charms.

Call it caprice, if you like,
that I loved her for a while.

Replace her pale moonlight
with your bright flame!

You blaze where before there was only moonlight.

You surrender to this passion now.

But when I am far away,
what will you think of her moonlight?

When your cold,
silent sleepwalker embraces you...

...will you remember me?

You are the red flower
whose bloom is so fleeting.

You are the red flower
whose bloom is so fleeting.

I know I once sought her love.

Am I being courted?

But what is left of that love?

You don't know which one you want.

Your arms are like ice.

Your beauty is cold!

Flee to the Princess's embrace.

You'll never escape it!

Save me from this mysterious power!

Help me!

Follow her into the abyss!

Follow her into the darkest regions of hell!

Cruel waters....

You will drag me down into the deep.

Let me die in your cold embrace!

Let me die there!

Robbed of my youth
and the company of my sisters...

...and punished for my love,
I languish by the icy waters.

Robbed of my youth
and the company of my sisters...

...and punished for my love,
I languish by the icy waters.

I have lost my charms.
I am cursed by my beloved.

I seek my sisters in vain.
In vain, I long for the world.

Where are the summer nights
that we spent on the water lilies?

Let me die in the water's cold embrace!

Cruel waters....

You will drag me down into the deep.

Let me die in your cold embrace!

Robbed of my youth
and the company of my sisters...

...and punished for my love,
I languish by the icy waters.

Let me die in the water's cruel embrace!

So, you've returned!

You weren't gone very long.

Why do you weep here all alone?

Didn't you like his kisses?

Didn't his bed make you warm?

I have been betrayed!

I have lost everything!

Your love was brief,
but your suffering will be long.

After tasting human kisses,
eternal fasting will be your lot!

A man is but an outcast of nature, uprooted long ago.

Woe to him who sought love...

...and is cursed for his betrayal!

Wise woman,
is there no way you can help me?

Your lover drove you away,
for he no longer loves you.

And you expect help again from Ježibaba?

Having flirted with the world,
you want to return to your sisters.

Well, I can help you.

But whether you'll obey,
the devil only knows!

The devil only knows!

Only human blood will wash away the curse.

For you have sought love in the arms of a mortal!

You may be as you were before.

But only through the warmth of human blood.

All your pain will cease,
and you shall be happy again...

...if the one who seduced you
dies by your own hand!

He must die by your own hand!

Ježibaba, what are you saying?

Take this knife, and vow that you'll obey!

You horrify me!

I would rather live in torment...

...and be forever cursed!

I'll suffer for eternity
and bear my curse forever.

I will bear rejection and despair...

...if only he can know happiness.

You braved the mortals' deceitful world.

And now you haven't the strength
to shed a drop of blood?

A man isn't a man
until he has dipped his hands in blood.

Not until he's filled with bloodlust...

...and kills his neighbor!

And you thought that as a woman
you could win a man with love?

You're nothing but a bubble, pale and empty!

Suffer, then, for all eternity!

Languish for the love of your man!

Banished from the living...

...I descend into the depths of solitude,
without my sisters.

My love, I know I shall never see you again!

My heart is filled with woe.

I shall never see you again!

Woe! Woe!

You deserted us for the world.

Now you are cursed!

Do not come near us!

You may not join in our dances...

...for you have known a man's embrace.

If you approach, we will flee!

Your grief frightens us
and disturbs our happy dances.

Play with the spirits of the dead
in the marshes at night!

Lure humans to the watery depths, to their graves.

But never seek to return to your sisters!

Are you afraid? Don't be silly.
Many have come here before us.

Summon her and calmly say
what you were told to say.

Say that the Prince is ill
and has lost his reason.

Say that an evil creature came to our castle.

Say that old Nurse Hata seeks Ježibaba's advice.

My knees are weak.
I'm trembling.

You go instead!

I've been here many times at night.

Only a coward would be afraid of an old hag!

You're the one who scared me with your stories.

You shouldn't be surprised
if I'm afraid of these woods.

That was idle talk.
I exaggerate. Never mind what I said.

Just knock on her door and get an answer!

I'm much too frightened.

I'd be ashamed if you were my son.

Just to show you there's nothing to it....

Ježibaba! Are you there?

Who's shouting?

Who's calling me?

Old Nurse Hata sent me here for your advice.

And as payment she sends me
this stripling to eat?

I'll fatten him up.
He'll make a nice roast!

Let me go!

Uncle! She's going to eat me up!

You worthless thing! Stupid creature!
A meager meal you'd make!

You and your kind can go
to the devil! What do you want?

Our Prince is gravely ill.

He was bewitched by a sorceress!

He brought her to the castle
and gave her everything.

He loved her more than his own life.

She was to become his wife.

But the pretty witch didn't wait for the wedding.

Once she had him under her spell,
the faithless creature disappeared.

The castle is still under her spell.

The devil himself
must have yanked her back to hell!

Who took her away? Whom did she betray?

Curse the one who sent you here!

Wretched swine! Lying vermin!

The Prince was the one
who betrayed and cursed her!

The Water Gnome!

I'll have my revenge...

...using all the power that I possess!

My hair is golden.

The fireflies dance around it.

I undo my shining tresses...

...and the moon combs them with her silver beams.

The moon combs my hair of gold.

My feet are dainty.

I dance on them, bathed by the dew...

...with only the moonlight for shoes.

My body is so fair, clothed in silver and gold.

My beauty shines in the moonlight...

...basking in its silver beams.

Let us dance, sisters,
in the gentle evening breeze!

Soon the Water Gnome will appear!

Let us dance, sisters,
in the gentle evening breeze!

There he is, hoping to catch us!

Try to catch us, Water Gnome!

Your reward will be a kiss!

And your wife will give your ears a twist!

Stop your games, children.

A human has spoiled our waters.

Who has spoiled our dance?

Tell us, Water Gnome!

Sorrowing in the deep, deserted by her sisters...

...sits poor, pale Rusalka.


My eyes are filled with tears.
I feel a sudden chill.

The moon has vanished behind the dark clouds.

My soul is filled with darkness.
Away, sisters!

Where are you, my white doe?

My silent vision!

Will my despair,
my searching, never end?

I search for you in the forest day after day.

At nightfall, I sense you are near.
I look for you in the mist.

I look for you everywhere!

Where are you, my vision?

Come to me!

This is the place.

Speak, silent forest!

Beloved vision, where are you?

My white doe!

By all that is left in my dying heart...

...I implore both God and the devil,
tell me where she is!

Do you recognize me, my love?

Do you still remember me?

If you are dead, let me die as well.
If you me!

Neither living nor dead,
woman nor sprite, I wander accursed!

For a moment I dreamed in your vain.

I was your love then.
Now I can only be your death!

I cannot live without you!

Can you never forgive me?

Why did you take me in your arms?

Why did you lie to me?

Now I am only a moonlit phantom,
destined to torment you forever.

Now I am a ghost in the night...

...luring you to your grave.

Why did you take me in your arms
and then lie to me?

You wanted passion, which I could not give you.

Passion...I could not give you.

Yet if I kiss you now, you are forever lost!

You are lost forever!

Kiss me, and give me peace!

I'll never return to the world.

Kiss me until I die!

Why did you betray me?

If I embrace you,
it will be for all eternity.

You will meet your death in my arms!

I will love you as before,
only let me kiss your lips.

I'll gladly die!
Kiss me, and forget the past.

Kiss me. I don't want to return to the world.

My love will cast an icy chill over you,
and you will die!

Your kiss is my peace.

Your kiss will wash away my sins.

Now I can die content.

He dies in your arms in vain!

All sacrifice is useless!

Poor, pale Rusalka!


For your splendid love and brief restless passion...

...for everything that cursed my fate...

...may God have mercy on your soul!