Song to the Moon Lyrics and Text Translation

The Aria from Dvorak's Popular Opera Rusalka

Anne-Sophie Duprels (as Rusalka) and Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (as The Prince) perform in the production Dvorak's 'Rusalka.'
Robbie Jack/Corbis/Getty Images

"Song to the Moon" comes from Antonin Dvorak's opera, Rusalka, an opera based on the fairy tales of Karel Jaromir Erben and Bozena Nemcova. Rusalka is the most popular Czech opera in circulation, and according to Operabase, a company that compiles and presents statistical information from over 900 opera theaters around the globe, Dvorak's Rusalka is the 36th most performed opera in the world during the 2018/19 operatic season.

A Happy Coincidence

While looking for a new subject on which to compose an opera, Dvorak met with the poet and librettist, Jaroslav Kvapil. By a happy coincidence, Kvapil had a libretto and he was also looking for a composer when his friends suggested he speak with Dvorak. Dvorak read through Kvapil's work and immediately agreed set it to music.

Dvorak quickly composed the opera between April and November of 1900, and on March 31, 1901, Rusalka premiered Rusalka in Prague. It was so successful in Prague that theaters in other nations began to take notice. Within ten years after its Czech premiere, Rusalka premiered in Vienna, and slowly thereafter received premieres in Germany (1935), the United Kingdom (1959), and the United States (1975).

The Context of "Song to the Moon"

This particular aria is sung by the title character, Rusalka, in the opera's first act. Rusalka is the daughter of a water-goblin who wants nothing more than to be human after she falls in love with a hunter/prince who frequents the lake in which she lives. Rusalka sings this song asking the moon to reveal her love to the Prince. 

To learn how the fairy tale unfolds, be sure to read the synopsis of Rusalka.

Czech Lyrics of "Song to the Moon"

Mesiku na nebi hlubokem
Svetlo tve daleko vidi,
Po svete bloudis sirokem,
Divas se v pribytky lidi.
Mesicku, postuj chvili
reckni mi, kde je muj mily
Rekni mu, stribmy mesicku,
me ze jej objima rame,
aby si alespon chvilicku
vzpomenul ve sneni na mne.
Zasvet mu do daleka,
rekni mu, rekni m kdo tu nan ceka!
O mneli duse lidska sni,
at'se tou vzpominkou vzbudi!
Mesicku, nezhasni, nezhasni!

English Translation of "Song to the Moon"

Moon, high and deep in the sky
Your light sees far,
You travel around the wide world,
and see into people's homes.
Moon, stand still a while
and tell me where is my dear.
Tell him, silvery moon,
that I am embracing him.
For at least momentarily
let him recall of dreaming of me.
Illuminate him far away,
and tell him, tell him who is waiting for him!
If his human soul is, in fact, dreaming of me,
may the memory awaken him!
Moonlight, don't disappear, disappear!

Recommended Listening

There are many wonderful performances of Rusalka's aria "Song to the Moon" and hundreds of which can be found on YouTube. Below are a few of the best performances.