Classical Friday: Dvorak’s ‘Song to the Moon’

It has all the ingredients of a classic tale: a water nymph falls in love with a human prince whom she has seen by her lake while he was hunting. She tells her father she wants to become a human so that she can be with the prince on land. Her father objects but despite her father’s warnings, the nymph seeks the help of a witch, and sings a “Song of the Moon” to tell the prince of her love for him.

This 19th century Czech fairy tale is a variant on the classic “Little Mermaid” fable found in many cultures. It was written into an opera by the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak (1841 – 1904) who titled it Rusalka after the love-struck water nymph. Dvorak composed the opera when he was 60, three years before his death. “Song of the Moon” is the famous aria from Act 1 of that work and considered to be one of the most beautiful pieces of Czech classical music ever written.

Here is “Song of the Moon”, magnificently performed by the Frederica (“Flicka”) von Stade (b. 1945), who has been extolled as one of the world’s finest mezzo-soprano. For more details on Frederica, see

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