Rusalka (includes Song to the Moon)
Antonin Dvořák


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Dvořák has 5 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame — the same as Mendelssohn and Verdi, amongst others — and this is the third. It peaked at number 97 in 1997.

Dvořák wrote Rusalka, his penultimate opera, at the age of sixty, with just three years left to live. He had lost none of his compositional powers, though; it proved his biggest operatic hit. It's based on the folk tale of Undine, the water nymph (from the latin unda, meaning wave) although, by the time Dvořák offered up his music, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid was already sixty-five years old, so there is the odd doff of the cap to this version, too. The Song to the Moon remains the shining-hit aria of the whole work.