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Der fliegende Holländer

Der fliegende Holländer

Der fliegende Holländer  Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège  28-11-2011
Richard Wagner
Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège
When you hear it for the first time, Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman ), the Opera written by the comoposer Richard Wagner,seems to perfectly embody traditional German opera, where there's a large use of chorus, even the most typical folk ones, to contrast the real world of the sailors' village against the Dutchman's ghost crew, together with ensemble scenes. In reality, there're two thematic elements outlined, which are essential to the word Wort-Ton-Drama (in German: word, sound, drama) invented by Wagner to define the total work of art, Gesamtkunstwerk: the perfect synthesis of word, music and action. Therefore, themes such as curse and redemption rise, which will be the cornerstone of the cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and then of Parsifal. Also, for the first time, there's the use of Leitmotiv, however in an early form: the central ideas suggested during the Overture will later define the characters and the dramatic or emotional developments they will undertake.

Synopsis Der fliegende Holländer

Norway, 1700s. Captain Daland's ship is driven miles away from his home on the coast by a furious storm. He retires to bed leaving the helmsman on watch, who, however, falls asleep. While the storm is approaching, the captain's ship is sided by a ghost vessel, the two ships are tightened together. The captain of the ghost vessel is the Flying Dutchman, a man of pale aspect with a thick black beard and dressed in black. The ghost captain laments his fate: since he once invoked Satan, he is cursed to roam the sea forever without rest. An angel brought to him a chance of redemption: every seven years the waves will let him land on the shore and if he can find a wife who gives him faithful love, he will be released from the curse. Captain Daland wakes up; the ghost has heard about the captain's daughter, Senta, and asks him to marry her, in exchange for gold and jewellery. Daland agrees to the marriage and the two vessels set sail for Daland's home.

Senta stares at a portrait of the Flying Dutchman, she admires him and sings a ballad about the him, praying to be the one who could save him. Her boyfriend Erik arrives and asks Senta to put a good word for him with her father. Noticing her particular attention to the Dutchman's picture, he tells her about a frightening dream he has had, in which he saw her embrace the ghost captain and sail away in his ship. Senta can't hold her feelings any longer and confirms him her desire to have exactly what he's dreamt of. Erik, hurt, rushes away. After a moment, the Dutchman himself arrives at Santa's home. He tells her of his destiny and she swears to be faithful to him. Daland blesses the couple.

The villagers celebrate the sailors' return and the crew of the ghost vessel is asked to join them but they refuse to leave their ship. Senta arrives, followed by Erik who accuses her to having betrayed their relationship. Overhearing this, the Dutchman believes she'd not able to be faithful to him and jumps aboard his ship. He reveals his name to the villagers and the ghost ship leaves. Senta runs to the top of a cliff and proclaims herself faithful to the Dutchman until death, then jumps into the sea. The dutchman is so saved and the two are seen on the ship disappearing in the sea.

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