Wagner's Der fliegende Hollander
From the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Tim Albery's production of Wagner's dark opera Der fliegende Hollander. With baritone Egils Silins and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka.
Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, starring Egils Silins and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka as Senta, conducted by Andris Nelsons.
The Dutchman.....Egils Silins (Bass-baritone)
Senta.....Adrianne Pieczonka (Soprano)
Erik.....Michael Konig (Tenor)
Daland.....Peter Rose (Bass)
Steersman.....Ed Lyon (Tenor)
Mary.....Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mezzo-soprano)
Royal Opera House Orchestra
Royal Opera House Chorus
Andris Nelsons (Conductor)
Der fliegende Holländer, The Flying Dutchman, sung by Latvian bass-baritone Egils Silins, has been condemned for eternity to sail his ship, and only once every seven years is allowed to come ashore to seek redemption by a faithful woman. The raging storm has driven The Dutchman to a Norwegian harbour where he moors beside Daland, sung by bass Peter Rose. Daland is impressed by the Dutchman's wealth and offers him shelter, and is no less impressed by the Dutchman's interest in his daughter, Senta, the role sung by soprano Adrianne Pieczonka. The Dutchman hopes he has found his redemption in Senta, who is looking for a change to her mundane life, and she eagerly accepts the Dutchman's declaration of love and his proposal. But he wrongly thinks she is unfaithful, so returns to his ship and sets sail without her.
Tim Albery's production for the Royal Opera, nominated for an Olivier award, probes the dark psychology of the persecuted and unfulfilled sailor, a character with whom Wagner identified. The cast is led by by Latvian bass-baritone Egils Silins and soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, known for her interpretations of Wagner. Donald Macleod introduces the performance and excerpts from interviews with some of the cast. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, are conducted by Andris Nelsons.
Due to a violent storm, Daland, a ship’s captain, has been forced to abandon reaching his home port and instead temporarily anchor his ship in a nearby bay. Daland’s Steersman is left to keep watch; he sings a ballad describing his yearning for his sweetheart, then falls asleep. A strange ship moors alongside, and its captain, the Flying Dutchman of seafaring legend, comes ashore. He describes the curse placed upon him. Once during a storm he swore that he would round a cape even if it took him until eternity; the Devil took him at his word, so now the seaman is fated to sail the seas forever unless he can find a woman who will be ‘faithful unto death’. He longs for salvation, and every seven years comes to port to search for such a woman; that time has come again, although he doubts he will find her.
Daland returns and rouses the Steersman, who hails the strange ship moored next to them, but no one responds. Daland sees the Dutchman on the shore and questions him. The Dutchman tells him of his endless travels and asks for Daland’s hospitality, in return for generous payment. When the Dutchman discovers that Daland has a daughter, he asks if he can marry her, in exchange for all his wealth. Daland, though suspicious, is delighted at the prospect of becoming rich. A southerly wind springs up and Daland’s crew prepare to depart for home, followed by the Dutchman’s ship.
In a clothing factory, the women are sewing and singing. Mary reproaches Senta for daydreaming instead of working. The other women tease her for her obsession with the Flying Dutchman, particularly when Erik is already in love with her. Senta asks Mary to sing the ballad of the Flying Dutchman, and, when she refuses, sings it herself. As she comes to the song’s end, Senta declares that she will be the woman to save the doomed Dutchman. Everyone is horrified, especially Erik, who has overheard – he has come to announce that Daland’s ship is returning to port. Mary orders the women home to prepare for the men’s arrival.
Erik is upset at Senta’s growing distance from him. He tells her of a strange dream he has had, in which he saw Senta sailing away on a mysterious ship with a stranger. Senta is now convinced that the Dutchman is seeking her and that it is her fate to save him. Erik leaves in despair. Daland arrives with the Dutchman and introduces him to Senta. She is transfixed by the visitor, and Daland urges her to accept his offer of marriage. Senta and the Dutchman are left alone, both contemplating the fulfilment of their dreams. Senta accepts the Dutchman’s offer of marriage, telling him she will be his salvation. The Dutchman warns her of the sacrifices she will make by marrying him, but she swears she will be true until death. Daland returns, overjoyed that there is
now an engagement to be celebrated.
The sailors are having a party. The women arrive with drink. They call out to the Dutchman’s ship, but no one responds. Unnerved by the ghostly stillness, the women leave. The men become more rowdy, shouting at the Dutchman’s ship. To their shock, the Dutchman’s crew suddenly reply.
Erik arrives, distraught that Senta seems to be abandoning him for the Dutchman. Overhearing the end of their conversation, the Dutchman is convinced that Senta is unfaithful. Senta begs him to trust her, but he is determined to return to sea. He tells her of the women who have broken their vows to him in the past: they have been eternally damned. He will save Senta, by leaving now before she can break her vows. He reveals his identity as the legendary Flying Dutchman, boards his ship, and leaves. Senta remains behind, alone.