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LA Opera: Wagner's THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, August 10th, 1 PM

The legend of the ghostly ship condemned to wander the oceans forever has fascinated opera lovers - and more recently, movie lovers - for hundreds of years. An enthralling score powers a thrilling journey into an unsettling, mythic world where a tormented spirit seeks true love as his redemption. James Conlon, one of the foremost Wagner interpreters of our time, leads a world-class cast in a mesmerizing production. Richard Wagner: THE FLYING DUTCHMAN ((Der fliegende Holländer), Saturday, August 10, 1 to 3:30 pm.


THE DUTCHMAN: Tómas Tómasson
SENTA: Elisabete Matos
ERIK: Corey Bix
DALAND: James Creswell
THE STEERSMAN: Matthew Plenk
MARY: Ronnita Nicole Miller


Part I: The coast of Norway A raging storm has forced a Norwegian captain, Daland, to seek shelter for his ship and crew in a cove, which he soon realizes is only seven miles from his home port. While the captain and crew go below to await better weather, the lone steersman sings to keep up his spirits, but he is soon overcome by sleep. An eerie ship draws near; its captain comes ashore and sings of his cruel fate. He is the Flying Dutchman, condemned together with his crew to sail for all eternity. Once every seven years, he may come ashore to search for a woman whose faithful love would lift the curse. Every search thus far has ended in betrayal, and now the Dutchman yearns only for an end to his voyage. Daland comes on deck and hails the Dutchman, who offers him a chest of jewels and treasure in exchange for shelter and hospitality. When Daland tells him of his daughter Senta, the Dutchman declares he would give everything he possesses for her hand in marriage. Daland can scarcely believe that he may have found a wealthy husband for his daughter, while the Dutchman dares once again to hope that he has found the woman who will release him from his curse. The weather abates. As Daland and his rew set sail for home, the Dutchman promises to follow them.

Part II: A room in Daland’s house In Daland’s house, a group of young women are at work under the supervision of Senta’s nurse, Mary. All but Senta sing of awaiting the return of their men from the sea. Senta is lost in dreamy contemplation of a portrait of the ghostly figure of the Flying Dutchman. The girls teasingly warn her that Erik, a hunter who is in love with Senta, will be jealous. Senta asks Mary to sing the ballad of the doomed Dutchman. When Mary refuses, Senta herself recounts the tale of the captain who, while attempting to round the Cape of Good Hope in a fearful storm, swore he would not turn back for all eternity. Satan heard the blasphemous oath and condemned the Dutchman to sail the seas until he could find a woman who would love him faithfully unto death. Overcome with empathy, Senta declares her passionate desire to be that redeemer. Mary and the girls are horrified, as is Erik, who arrives with the news of Daland’s return. Alone with Senta, Erik reproaches her for her obsession with the legend of the Dutchman. He knows that Daland will not settle for a poor son-in-law, but he begs Senta to support his suit. When she avoids his advances, he tells her of a dream he had in which Senta and the phantom sailor disappear together over the sea. Believing this to be an omen, Senta ecstatically vows that she will sacrifice herself to save the Dutchman. Erik leaves in despair. Daland arrives with his guest. The Dutchman and Senta gaze at each other, oblivious to Daland’s introduction. When they are left alone, the Dutchman says that he believes her to be the woman he has long dreamed of. Senta responds to the stranger’s tales of hardship with compassion and tells him that she will follow her father’s wishes and marry him. When Daland returns to see what she has decided, she pledges she will be a faithful wife to the mysterious stranger.

Part III: The coast near Daland’s house The sailors on Daland’s ship celebrate their homecoming. The Dutchman’s ship is moored nearby, dark and quiet. Young women arrive and, as the celebration continues, the Norwegians call to the Dutch sailors to join them. The only answer is an eerie silence. The Norwegians jest that this must be the Flying Dutchman’s ship. The women become fearful and depart. Suddenly the ghostly voices of the Dutch sailors are heard, drowning out the Norwegians’ song and breaking into mocking laughter when the Norwegian sailors flee. Senta appears, pursued by Erik. He demands to know how she can break his heart by marrying the man he has recognized as the subject of the portrait. He reminds her that she had once sworn to be faithful only to him. The Dutchman, overhearing this, believes that he has been betrayed once again. Senta tries to convince the Dutchman of her faithfulness in vain. Although any woman breaking her pledge to him would be eternally damned, Senta has not yet pledged her faith to him before God. He prepares to leave, and reveals that he is indeed the Flying Dutchman. Senta chooses tofollow her new husband to their fate.