Director Melly Still seizes Dvorak’s dark fairy tale, reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, and combines dance and opera to maximum effect.
Soprano Wioletta Chodowicz makes an impact in her Glyndebourne debut – particularly in her “Song To The Moon” - as the eponymous wretched water nymph jettisoning her twitching tail and wormy sisters in a flash for the chance of true, if mute, love.
With tenor Ladislav Elgr, in a company and UK double debut, as the debonair but fickle Prince and soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya elegant as the Foreign Princess a stark contrast to the murky waters and goings on in the turgid lake.
Mischa Schelomianski’s bass is thrilling as the lusty, scary Vodnik while mezzo-soprano Anne Mason superbly plays the nasty witch Jezibaba cooking up a treat straight from the pages of a Heston Blumenthal cook book.
Designer Rae Smith’s malodorous, overgrown pond is tremendously atmospheric, charged with graceful white doe, raunchy nymphs, sinister coven and wriggling wildlife while the bustling palace is sterile and clean dazing the lovelorn wretch with its elegance and frantic activity.
Leo McFall takes the baton to wring every ounce of melancholy from the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra, with the unnamed harpist of particular note, while the black-clad dancers enable some dynamic swimming scenes.
Not my favourite but interesting.