Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Three Flying Dutchmen

Pursuant to the other day's post about the San Francisco Opera's "The Flying Dutchman" I thought I would check out a few "Dutchmen" on YouTube. What a miracle YouTube is! Entire operas are posted there. Some even have subtitles. I also have fun looking around Google for "Flying Dutchman" art. There is a whole galley, I mean gallery, of Flying Dutchman ghost ships.

Meanwhile, the opera. There were several versions that were just plain wacky that I weeded out.

But this Leif Segerstam version looks pretty good. It has some beautiful video effects of water and ghostly ships. I have watched sections of it including the ending and I am going to sit down one of these days and watch the whole thing. There are no subtitles so you might have to haul out your old garage sale Wagner libretto book. But you almost do not need to follow it word for word. You can get the idea what is going on.

This stage production with Jose van Dam is kind of spare but spare is not bad, you know, when it comes to "The Flying Dutchman." It is better to leave a lot to the imagination than to destroy it.


I like some things about this Bayreuth production with the great Simon Estes as a very cool Dutchman. He has a great voice and when he sings that he is the Flying Dutchman he is in chains. And they have a kind of cool set with these creepy hands closing around him. Kind of cool! See, I am no prude.

However ... the ending!

They alter the orchestral ending so you do not hear that music of redemption that I described the other day. What in the world? I did not know you were allowed to do that. And in Bayreuth!

At the beginning of the video they sanctimoniously flash the master's signature! He did not write it like this, did he? Did he supply some kind of alternate ending? I never heard that. And it changes the meaning of the opera. It is as if Senta dies for nothing. That tender music at the end is there to tell you what happens and without it, the opera is just a horror story.

Fie on this Bayreuth ship of fools. Fie.

May they wander cursed around the Internet forever, never able to sign off!

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