Artist of the Week: Olga Bezsmertna
Ukranian Soprano to Bring ‘Rusalka’ to Teatro alla Scala for the First TimeBy Francisco Salazar
This week the Teatro alla Scala will make history by presenting the first-ever production of Dvořák’s “Rusalka. The work, which premiered 122 years ago in Prague has become a fixture at all the major opera houses in the world, but mysteriously has never been performed at the most renowned Italian theater. And for this major occasion, La Scala has brought some of the most important interpreters of the opera to present the work, starting with soprano Olga Berzsmertna.
The Ukrainian soprano made her role debut during the 2014-15 season at the Wiener Staatsoper and later returned to it in 2020 and last year in Bratislava, Slovakia. When she debuted the role of Rusalka, critics raved about the soprano stating “Olga Bezsmertna is a young soprano with an attractive lyric voice, outstanding at the top and perhaps a little short at the bottom.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times Bezsmertna spoke about the opera stating, “It’s a very difficult opera, but my voice feels at home because I don’t have to push. My first time in Vienna, I jumped in five days before the first performance. I honestly didn’t have time to think about what to do. But it’s perfect for a lyric soprano voice… The second act is so completely different from the first act because she is destroyed. It’s not a fairy tale anymore. She’s alone, and the prince loves another woman. Life has changed completely.”
For Bezmertna, the role of “Rusalka” will also be a return to the Teatro alla Scala where she debuted during the 2021-22 season in “La Calisto” and has since returned for Echo in “Ariadne auf Naxos.”
For those not in Milan for the historical production, the opera will be broadcast on Oct. 19 on Rai 5 and Raiplay. The soprano also returns to La Scala in the fall for “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
Here is a look at Olga Bezsmertna’s work in productions of “Le Nozze di Figaro” and “Die Zauberflote.”