Rusalka at the Met | Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

New York’s Metropolitan Opera triggered an outpouring of critical contempt this winter by reviving a traditional production of Antonin Dvorák’s fairy-tale opera Rusalka. The press’s enraged reaction to the Met’s sylvan setting starkly revealed the pressures on the house to embrace nihilistic European-style directing. But the critical bile was even more alarming as a sign of the shriveling aesthetic imagination among our purported guardians of culture.

For his eighth and final opera, Dvorák chose a libretto steeped in the rich European tradition of fairy and folk tale, genres which had long enchanted him. The young Czech...

 

New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

Popular Right Now