Poster 'A Water Sprite or Siren,' by William Henry Margetson (1861-1940).
'A Water Sprite or Siren,' by William Henry Margetson (1861-1940).
Public domain
YourClassical Storytime

'The Little Mermaid'

YourClassical Storytime: 'The Little Mermaid'

Welcome again to YourClassical Storytime. Today's story is one you might know as a Walt Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. But the story is much older than that. It's nearly 200 years old, written by a Danish writer famous for fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen.

People who wrote classical music were fascinated by the story of a mermaids, especially those who wanted to become human. A composer named Felix Mendelssohn wrote a musical story called The Fair Melusina. Richard Wagner wrote big operas featuring mermaids, the Rhine Maidens, who lived in a river and guarded magic gold. And Antonin Dvorak wrote music about a mermaid named Rusalka.

In The Little Mermaid, the mermaid makes a great sacrifice to explore the human world: She gives up her voice — well, at least for a little while.

Click the player above or YouTube video below to listen, or download the story to your own device for easy playback at any time.

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Antonin Dvorak: Rusalka (selections)
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Mikhail Jurowski
Hanssler 09024

Felix Mendelssohn: Fair Melusina - Overture
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Thomas Dausgaard
BIS 2166

Richard Wagner: Das Rheingold - Act I Prelude
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Marek Janowski
Pentatone 5186406

Camille Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals - Aquarium
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ondrej Lenard
Naxos 550499

Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.


Narrator: Valerie Kahler
Grandmother: Lynne Warfel
Rusalka: Avital Rabinowitz
Owen: Tom Reed
Magela, the Magical Mermaid: Anna Reed
Bully Boys: Josh Holt, Lynne Warfel

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About YourClassical Storytime

YourClassical Storytime is supported by the Minnesota Waldorf School. Find out more at

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About YourClassical Storytime