Der fliegende Holländer - Further information
World Première on 2nd January 1843, Hoftheater, Dresden
One would not have thought that in Paris in 1840, when Richard Wagner worked
upon the text for a possible libretto based on the tale of The Flying Dutchman by Heinrich Heine, he would, later in his life, regard this as the moment when his career truly began as a dramatic composer. Wagner worked on the text in French and hoped that it would result in a possible commission for a small scale music theatre work for the Opéra – maybe as a one act "curtain-raiser" for a full ballet evening. His hopes were dashed when the "curtain-raiser" commission finally went to a French musician with Wagner receiving a payoff for his libretto of a measly 500 Francs.
Despite this, Wagner carried on composing his Dutchman drama which turned out to be a stunning beginning of a new chapter in operatic history: opera as music drama. It was during his work on this story of a sea captain condemned to roam eternally, only touching land every seven years to seek deliverance from his fate, that Wagner realised that his own future was to roam and delve through the world of myth which would become the cornerstone of his music theatre vision. He also came to realize that through the exploration of myth in his music dramas he could enable his works to reveal eternal truths and have universal relevance to a contemporary world.
Stage director Peter Konwitschny has already given the Bavarian State Opera two searching and revealing Wagner interpretations with his landmark productions of Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde. This new production of The Flying Dutchman will complete our hattrick Wagnerian cycle with this great German director.
After we had engaged Peter Konwitschny for the task of staging The Flying
Dutchman for the 2005/2006 season we were asked by the Bolshoi Theatre in
Moscow to co-produce the project with them. This collaboration was brought to fruition by us creating the concept together with Peter Konwitschny and his designer Johannes Leiacker and by us building the sets, props and costumes and all other elements of the production here in Munich and transporting them to Moscow with our production staff to present the work there in June of 2004 to great acclaim.
Now the final version will have its Munich première here at the National Theatre on 26th February 2006. The cast will feature the Finnish baritone Juha Uusitalo, who is already well known to the Munich audience for his Gunther in Götterdämmerung, in the title role of the Dutchman himself with Kurt Moll as Daland, Stephen Gould as Eric and the young German soprano Anja Kampe giving her debut at the State Opera in the role of Senta.
Sir Peter Jonas