National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $25,000 to Madison Opera to support the company premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka in April. The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Madison Opera will produce Rusalka on April 26 and 28, 2019 at the Overture Center for the Arts. First performed in 1901 in Prague, Rusalka tells of a water nymph who falls in love with a human prince. A witch agrees to make her human – but the spell will break if she ever speaks. Inspired by the same story as the classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid, Dvořák’s luxurious masterpiece travels from a mythical forest to a palace and back again. With a world populated by wood sprites and royalty, its score includes the famous “Song to the Moon.”
Madison Opera’s performances take place in Overture Hall and are directed by Keturah Stickann and conducted by John DeMain. Emily Birsan stars as Rusalka, with Karin Wolverton as the Foreign Princess, Lindsay Ammann as Jezibaba, John Lindsey as the Prince, and William Meinert as Vodnik.
“It is an honor to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and be recognized for our artistic work on a national level,” says Madison Opera General Director Kathryn Smith. “The NEA’s funding will help us share our first-ever Czech opera with our community, ensuring that thousands of people hear Dvořák’s glorious score for the first time.”
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.