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Romantic opera in three acts
Libretto by the composer
First performed January 2nd 1843, Royal Opera House, Dresden
Sung in German with German surtitles.
c. 2 hrs 15 mins - with no interval
an introductory talk, in German, begins in the upstairs foyer 30 minutes before every performance
Dutchman Iain Paterson
Senta Erika Sunnegårdh /Elisabeth Teige
Erik AJ Glueckert / Vincent Wolfsteiner
Daland Andreas Bauer
Mary Maria Pantiukhova
Steuerman Michael Porter
The Flying Dutchman, after three early works, was the first in a series of Wagner operas which revolutionised the world of music. The original edition is about two hours long and performed without an interval. A stormy crossing from Riga to England reminded Wagner of a mythological seafarer who, in a pact with the devil, is damned to sail the oceans forever. David Bösch created an exciting drama about outcasts of today in Patrick Bannwart's stage design which fills the stage, dominated by an enormous rotating ship's propeller.
They were almost home when a violent storm drove the merchant Daland's ship into a bay. The helmsman keeps watch. A second ship, carrying the Flying Dutchman's crew, approaches. The Dutchman is damned to sail the oceans for eternity. Every seven years he is allowed to go on land and try to find a woman whose fidelity can redeem him. The Dutchman meets Daland and discovers that he has a daughter, Senta. He asks Daland for her hand. Impressed by the Dutchman's wealth, the merchant consents. Act 2 Women wait for Daland's sailors to come home. Senta asks her friend Mary to tell the story of the Flying Dutchman, but she refuses. Senta sings the ballad herself. She longs to be the woman who can release him from the curse. Erik, Senta's beloved, reports that the ship has docked. He urges Senta to ask her father to agree to their marriage. Senta rejects him. Erik tells of a dream in which he saw Senta and a sinister seafarer sink beneath the waves. Daland introduces his daughter to the stranger, and future husband. Senta and the Dutchman realise that they belong together. He demands, and she promises, eternal fidelity. Act 3 Daland's sailors celebrate their homecoming, the women make preparations for the wedding. They invite the Flying Dutchman's crew to the celebrations, but receive no answer. The sea suddenly gets rough. The ghosts' song rings out. Erik reminds Senta of their former intimacy, and that she had promised to be true to him. She denies everything. The Dutchman overhears them. He thinks Senta has betrayed him, and leaves. Senta follows him. They find one another again in death.