DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER
(The Flying Dutchman)
Richard Wagner 1813 – 1883
Romantic Opera in three acts
Libretto by the composer
First performed January 2nd 1843, Royal Hoftheater Dresden
Sung in German with German surtitles
Duration: c. 2 hrs. 15 min. without interval
ABOUT THE WORK
In 1838, fleeing from their creditors, Minna, Richard and their Newfoundland dog followed smugglers routes across the eastern Russian/Prussian border. This was followed by a journey by sea. Storms forced the crew of their ship to seek shelter near the coast, where Wagner heard the story about the Flying Dutchman from Norwegian sailors. With an excellent instinct for theatre, and inspired by the dangerous voyage and Heine’s writings, he wrote his own dramatic texts: his libretto is concise, every situation, character precise. The first edition of the work was a »dramatic ballade«, a unified whole with no interval.
The Dutchman was very important for Wagner’s later, musical dramaturgical train of thought, and the theme was one of the main reasons for this: the redeeming love for a banished, damned man who, like Odysseus and Ahasver, belongs to the wandering figures in sagas of the western world.
Bertrand de Billy / Eun Sun Kim
Chorus and Extra Chorus Master
Wolfgang Koch / James Rutherford
Daniel Behle / Vincent Wolfsteiner
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner / Ewa Płonka
Opera Frankfurt’s Orchestra and Chorus
They were almost home when a violent storm drove Daland’s ship into a bay. He decides to wait for the tempest to pass. The helmsma …
They were almost home when a violent storm drove Daland’s ship into a bay. He decides to wait for the tempest to pass. The helmsman keeps watch. Meanwhile a ship with the Dutchman’s Crew on board approaches. He 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, Daland consents. Women wait for Daland’s sailors to come home. Senta asks Mary to tell the story of the Flying Dutchman. She refuses, so Senta sings the ballad herself. She longs to be the woman to release him from the curse. Erik, a hunter, and Senta’s beloved, reports that the ship has arrived. He urges Senta to ask her father to agree to their marriage. Senta rejects him. Erik tells her of a dream, in which he saw Senta and a sinister seafarer vanish into the sea. Daland introduces his daughter to the stranger. Senta and the Dutchman realize that they belong together. He demands, and she promises, eternal fidelity. Daland’s sailors celebrate their homecoming, the women make preparations for the wedding. They invite the Dutchman’s crew to join them, but receive no answer. The sea gets rough. The ghosts’ song rings out. Erik reminds Senta that she had promised to be true to him. She denies everything. The Dutchman overhears their conversation. He thinks that Senta has betrayed him and flees. Senta follows him. They find one another in death.