This baroque two-story house was built in Prague at the beginning of the 18th century. It is now a museum devoted to the life and works of the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904).
Dvořák was a Czech nationalist who incorporated elements of Czech and Moravian folk music into his many orchestral, chamber and choral compositions. But he was also interested in American music and spent three years in New York, from 1892 to 1895, as director of the National Conservatory of Music. One of his best-known works is his Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”, which he composed in New York in 1893.
Dvořák composed ten operas. The only one I have seen up to now is Ruskala, which premiered at the Frankfurt Opera in 2013 in an attractive production by Jim Lucassen, and was revived in 2015 and 2018 with different casts. Later, In December 2019, I attended a brilliant opera-and-ballet performance of Rusalka in the opera house in Antwerp, Belgium.
A Rusalka in Czech is a mythological water spirit (Undine in German, Ondine in French), sort of like a fresh-water mermaid. Occasionally a Rusalka makes the mistake of falling in love with a human (or visa-versa), with tragic consequences for both. There have been several operas about these water spirits, including one by E.T.A. Hoffmann, but the most popular is still Dvořák’s version.
Concerts and recitals are often held here in the concert hall on the upper floor of the Dvořák Museum. I could have gone to one, but went to the opera instead.
Click here to watch the trailer of Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Frankfurt Opera.
(The trailer is mainly in German, but the soprano Amanda Majeski speaks English.)
My photos in this post are from 2011. I revised the text in 2020.