This ballet brings a fairy tale to life, the world-famous masterpiece by Hans Christian Andersen. In terms of production and the libretto, The Little Mermaid, is the result of collaboration between directorial duo SKUTR and the choreographer Jan Kodet. Like Dvořák’s Rusalka, The Little Mermaid explores the theme of unrequited love. Unlike its opera counterpart, however, the story is less tragic and draws on the uplifting aspects of a melancholy story.
One day, the youngest daughter of the king of the ocean emerges above the surface for the first time. She sets eyes on the prince, with whom she falls madly in love. His ship sinks, but the mermaid rescues him and brings him to the shore, where immediately a strange girl takes him away. The mermaid learns from her grandmother that she will gain a human soul if a man marries her while she is in human form. But if he turns away from her and marries another woman, the Mermaid will die. She accepts the risk and finds a witch who exchanges her wonderful voice for human limbs: the mermaid must surrender it as a sacrifice. Her tail is transformed into the graceful legs of a lady. When the mermaid appears on the mainland and meets the prince, she truly beguiles him and so they spend endless hours together. But she is unaware that the prince had once fallen in love with a human girl whom encountered on the shore, and that the king wanted him to marry that very girl.
When considered from all creative perspectives, The Little Mermaid is a wonderful work of fantasy, whose sense of harmony and co-operation differs from the rather passive Disney version and the original, gloomy Andersen tale. Besides the masterly choreography, based on the elements of modern ballet and oriental dance, the performance builds on the set, designed by Jakub Kopecký, and the highly original music of Zbyněk Matějů. Its power lies in empathetically bringing together ballet with images immersed in the mystical green of the water depths. Dance and the music of an orchestra accompany the singing of the nymphs, which instantly transports you to the mysterious kingdom; an intentionally disharmonious musical party. It evokes the wild, untamed sea, balanced with the soothing sounds of the harp, as if to emphasise the gentle ballet. A timeless story of love for which we would give up everything that is precious – even our own lives.
The ballet has two acts and is performed by the National Ballet, accompanied by the Orchestra of the National Theatre.