The premiere of the famous opera, which took place in March 1901, was not an ordinary one for Bohumil Pták. Despite the wishes of Maestro Dvořák himself, Pták was not cast in the role of the Prince in the premiere performance, and, as he bitterly pointed out in a text he wrote in 1929, the role was to be sung by Karel Burian. However, destiny has its own ways. Burian jeopardized the Rusalka premiere when he, „having a good time in a merry company, neglected, as he sometimes would, to keep himself fresh enough for the important event and the demanding task of singing the Prince’s role”, as Mr. Otakar Šourek tactfully put it in the fourth volume of Antonín Dvořák: His Life and Works, published in 1933. Luckily, and upon the insistence of Dvořák himself, Bohumil Pták stepped in. Despite being tired after having spent all day recording phonograph cylinders for a major Berlin company and not having participated in the final rehearsals, he saved the day with his breathtaking performance.
Besides the recordings of Málka Bobková, soprano, Emil Pollert, bass, and Otakar Mařák and Stanislav Orzelski, made in 1902-1903 by the recording technicians of the Gramophone Company (back then called The Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd, which were published on gramophone records with Gramophone Concert Record and Zonophone Record labels), the two recordings of the Prince’s arias performed by Pták rank among the eldest recordings of this opera known and preserved. What makes the recording of Pták’s performance unique in comparison to the other ones, is that they were recorded on brown-wax phonograph cylinders, which means that they probably were not mass produced, unlike recordings on gramophone records.