Der fliegende Holländer / The Flying Dutchman
Romantic opera in three acts
Libretto by the composer
Performed in German with German and English supertitles
Countless legends revolve around the figure of the immortal Flying Dutchman, who can only find peace when a devoted woman remains true to him unto death. Senta, who contemplates a dismal future in her home village as a wife and mother, believes herself ordained to break the curse. Or does she simply hope that the stranger can free her from the confines of her life? Premiered in Dresden in 1843, »The Flying Dutchman« is Richard Wagner’s first Romantic opera. The composer was inspired by the tradition of supernatural operas, a genre founded by Carl Maria von Weber’s »Der Freischütz«, in which natural forces are demonized to reflect the inner turmoil of the characters. In »The Flying Dutchman«, however, Wagner tentatively did away with the usual structure of aria and recitative, moving towards a through-composed opera, a new form which he perfected in his subsequent music dramas. In particular, Wagner’s libretto shows real innovation in the psychological depth of the Dutchman and Senta. In her staging, director Florentine Klepper uses this aspect to present the viewpoint of Senta, adopting a magical and dreamlike narrative to tell of her emancipation from her father, her fiancée and from suffocating social conventions.