It was by chance in 1900 that Dvorák came by the libretto for Rusalka by the poet Jaroslav Kvapil. It had been declined by two of Dvorak’s pupils, Nedbal and Suk, as well as J.B. Foerster. Dvorák was delighted with the libretto, and completed the score within a year. Rusalka was premiered in 1901 and has become Dvorak’s most popular opera. It was also the first of his operas to break free of the Wagnerian style that had permeated his earlier stage works. Here, he manages to use to great effect the Wagner of Die Walküre, and has infused that influence with some of his most daring and original music. The famous ‘Song to the Moon’ sung by Rusalka has become one of the most famous arias in all opera. Unaccountably Rusalka had to wait until 1950 for its UK premiere; the US premiere was in 1935, a ‘mere’ 31 years after the composer’s death.