INKPOT#54 CLASSICAL MUSIC REVIEWS: WAGNER Der Fliegende Holländer (Naxos)
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Der Fliegende Hollnder
The Flying Dutchman
Romantic Opera in Three Acts. Libretto by Wagner The Dutchman Alfred Muff
Senta, Daland’s daughter Ingrid Haubold
Daland, a Norwegian sea-captain Erich Knodt
Erik, a hunter Peter Seiffert
The Helmsman in Daland’s crew Jrg Hering
Mary, Senta’s nurse Marga Schiml
Budapest Radio Chorus Peter Erdei chorus master Ronald Schneider musical assistant ORF Symphony Orchestra (Vienna)
conducted by Pinchas Steinberg
[69’16” + 68’37”] budget-price
CAUTION: Libretto in German only. This review is kindly sponsored by Rock Records.
by Anthony Guneratne
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN is a poignant tale of blasphemy, love, obsessions and the supernatural – the tale of a sailor, condemned forever to sail the eternal seas till he finds true love during his brief sojourns on land every seven years. Set amongst dark Norwegian landscapes, it is accompanied by an atmosphere that is in equal parts, chillingly dark and wonderfully romantic.The conception of the story has uncanny similarities to the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with a haunting, evocative atmosphere reminiscent of several of his short stories. Especially poignant is Senta’s love for the doomed sailor whom she has never seen, and the Dutchman’s prescient memory of her face that will set him free. The end is mixture of the tragic and the happy with Senta committing suicide to prove her loyalty, and this act setting both her and the Dutchman free to be together in the hereafter.
In the end, the tale is very much a story of stormy contrasts, with the dark and the light vying in equal measures, to make this one of the most powerful operas ever written. Bringing out this contrast is a formidable challenge for any that attempt to perform this work.
GIVING the performance under question, many-many run throughs, several extending into the wee hours of the night, indeed the morning (yes we do work that hard!), I am hard pressed to put my finger on