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Renée Fleming in Dvořák’s sumptuously melodic opera Rusalka

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Renée Fleming sings one of her signature roles, the title character in Dvořák’s sumptuously melodic Rusalka, on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, May 18 at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera Friday, May 30 at 9 p.m.)

The story of the opera, which is about a water spirit’s tragic romance with a human prince, is drawn from several folktale sources including Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”

Star conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads a cast that also includes Piotr Beczala as the handsome Prince whom Rusalka yearns to love; Dolora Zajick as the cackling swamp witch Ježibaba; Emily Magee as the Foreign Princess, Rusalka’s rival; and John Relyea as Rusalka’s father, the Water Sprite.

Fleming won the Met’s National Council Auditions 25 years ago singing the forlorn mermaid’s famous aria “Song to the Moon” and has sung the role of Rusalka more than any other artist in Met history.

“Portraying a water nymph who gives up a life of enchantment to pursue mortal love with a handsome prince, Ms. Fleming sang with tonal splendor and commendable ease,” enthused The New York Times.

Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham hosts the broadcast.

Rusalka was originally seen live in movie theaters on February 8 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world.

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