A live audio recording of Dvořák’s Rusalka performed by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera Chorus, and an international cast of soloists at the Salzburg Festival in August 2008 has been released by the Orfeo label. The CD will be available through retailers and available for download online in the United States on September 27, 2011 . It is now available in the Cleveland Orchestra Store at Severance Hall.
These performances of Rusalka marked the first time that The Cleveland Orchestra presented an opera production and played from the orchestra pit at the Salzburg Festival. The five sold-out Rusalka performances were part of a Festival residency that also included Franz Welser-Möst conducting the Orchestra in three different concert programs. Prior to the staged Salzburg performances, Franz Welser-Möst led The Cleveland Orchestra in concert performances of Rusalka in Cleveland in June 2008.
London’s Sunday Times praised the Salzburg Festival performance, calling it “the most spellbinding account of Dvorak’s miraculous score I have ever heard, either in the theatre or on record…. I doubt this music can be better played than by the Clevelanders, the most ‘European’ of the American orchestras, with wind and brass soloists to die for and a string sound of superlative warmth and sensitivity.” The London Sunday Telegraph review said, “the playing of the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst is sumptuously beautiful and exquisitely detailed, allowing Dvorak's operatic masterpiece to weave a strong spell at its first-ever Salzburg showing.”