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Alumni Take Center Stage In Opera Orlando Production

In a unique production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Maitland Art and History Museums (March 8-9), talent from the Florida State University College of Music takes center stage.

Set outdoors in the late 19th-century Florida swamp, the performance provides a fresh perspective on the classic tale, skillfully translated by Grant Preisser (B.A. ’99). The open-air setting allows the audience to physically move between Rusalka’s water world and the Prince’s Castle, enhancing the intimate experience.

Preisser’s English translation breathes new life into the narrative, seamlessly blending central European folklore with the distinct ambiance of the Florida swamp. The production’s innovative approach mirrors the fluidity of the original narrative, offering a dynamic exploration of Rusalka’s dual worlds.

Five outstanding Florida State University College of Music alumni and one faculty member contribute key roles: Cristina Bakhoum Sanchez (M.M. ’10), Isaac Hurtado (D.M. ’05), Shannon Jennings (B.M. ’11), Gabriel Preisser (B.M. ’08), and Grant Preisser exemplify the talent nurtured at the College. They are joined by Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Emily Pulley, captivating as Ježibaba the Witch, while bass-baritone James Demler embodies Vodník the Water-Gnome. The ensemble is completed by Opera Orlando’s Studio Artists.

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