Thursday, November 28, 2013

All Aboard The Flying Dutchman!

Here's another one of my opera posts from The Freako Diva. Hope you guys enjoy it! I should have another one coming up shortly on Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sailors get blown off course by the wind. 
November 12, 2013
War Memorial Opera House

7:20 p.m.

"Okay, so, I ought to have started writing this a long time ago because I arrived at 6:55 p.m. This is my second big experience with Richard Wagner. I heard Siegfried at the San Francisco Opera when the whole Ring Cycle thing was going on. I enjoyed it very much. The flamboyant music and all that action going on the stage. The only thing that seemed to turn it for me was the length. It was awfully difficult for me to stay seated throughout the whole piece. I was proud of myself when I did, though I am also very grateful that I listened until the very end. The music was very interesting, and I found it very exciting how Wagner combined his arias with the grand, never-ending flow of music."

The stunning cast of Der Fliegende Holländerincluded Lise Lindstrom as Senta, Erin Johnson as Mary, Greer Grimsley as The Dutchman, Ian Storey as Erik, Kristin Sigmundsson as Daland, and A.J. Glueckert as Steersman.

The Dutchman (Greer Grimsley) and Senta (Lise Lindstorm). 
8:25 p.m.
"I am enjoying this very much. The special effects are just fascinating, and the way the ships change makes the scene very exciting. 
The music accompanying the acting is beautiful. I was never a huge fan of Wagner until this point. 

"I particularly enjoyed the Dutchman. Something about his rich tone of voice and speech energy that made everything he sang to have a meaning. I am not a German speaker, but just the phrasing of the melody produced a musical translation of the meaning of the words.

Greer Grimsley as The Dutchman.
"After reading the summary I understood that men are always the reason bad things happen in opera. Come to think of it. First of all, Daland basically sold his daughter for riches! He has no idea who this man was, and he didn't even bother to ask if she minded.

"Then, jumping to the end of the tale, the Dutchman arrived at a conclusion that had no base whatsoever. He figured, judging from Senta's conversation with Erik, that Senta had already broken her vow of faithfulness towards him. Then he didn't believe her when she tried to persuade him of the opposite. She freed him from his curse, but he didn't prize that and basically caused her death."

Kristin Sigmundsson as Daland. 
Lise Lindstrom did and excellent job of singing and acting. There is a certain aspect of this character that requires extraordinary acting as well as singing. The whole idea, as I saw it, was that Senta was sort of paranoid at the beginning. She had lost her mind for a man she had never met. She would drew these portraits of him. These portraits she thought were exactly what he looked like. She had already betrothed herself to Erik, but that didn't seem to stop her. Towards the middle, Senta becomes happy and in love. This is probably the sanest level in her character development. In the end she is overcome with grief, disappointed, and most likely was in love. He was the one who stopped loving her, not she him. She jumps into the ocean after his leaving ship, but how could that ship keep on moving if the curse is broken? Anyway, Ms. Lindstrom did a superior job of passing this feeling down the line to the audience.

Ian Storey (Erik) and Lise Lindstorm (Senta). 
Erin Johnson (Mary) and A.J. Glueckert (The Steersman) were minor, but entertaining characters. The Steersman's aria at the beginning was very important, even if it might seem not. He was singing about his love on shore. His love that was waiting for him to come back. For those who didn't know the lyrics of the aria, this was as good as it gets with foreshadowing. It wasn't obvious that The Steersman wouldn't appear again in the opera. Everyone who didn't know the story thought that this steersman was the main "tenor hero" of the opera, when in fact he was just stating the main theme of the opera. Nonetheless, Mr. Glueckert was fascinating. Small roles like Mary and The Steersman are rarely performed in such an unforgettable way. Ms. Johnson was fabulous Mary. Mary played an important role in the plot as well. She was the one who first sang the ballad of The Flying Dutchman to Senta. If it weren't for Mary, Senta would have never even discovered the existence of the Flying Dutchman.

Ian Storey (Erik) did a fabulous performing job, but I never actually figured out the meaning of his character. Erik was in love with Senta and she was betrothed to him as well, actually she had promised herself to him without her father's consent. There was a dilemma, going on between them. Erik wanted to be her husband, but he was too afraid to actually come up to her father. Mr. Storey's bright hight notes produced that effect of a suffering lover. He obviously loved Senta and she probably once loved him too. The love wore off eventually when all of her thoughts became absorbed in the Dutchman.

Lise Lindstorm as Senta.
Kristinn Sigmundsson (Daland) sounded great, especially during his duet with the Dutchman in Act 1. Daland was a loving father, but he didn't think from Senta's perspective. He knew that he wouldn't die of hunger if her husband would have five treasure chests and a huge ship filled with gold. Mr. Sigmundsson performed the role with lots of energy and enthusiasm. 

Finally, Greer Grimsley (The Dutchman) was especially attracting attention during the mood changing scenes. 
Mood #1: He is suffering. Everything seems hopeless. Every so often years he has given the opportunity to go on shore and to find his true love. There is a teensy-weensy amount of hope, but not much. He has used this opportunity before but it has never helped.
Mood #2: He finds out that Daland will give him his daughter. May be she will end up eternally faithful to him?
Mood #3: The Dutchman meets Senta and falls in love. She falls in love with him too. She will be faithful.
Mood #4: She is still faithful, but The Dutchman believes otherwise. He yells at her and sails away on his ship.

Greer Grimsley as The Dutchman. 
At the very finale of the opera, Senta says that she will eternally stay his and jumps in the water after his ship. The curse is broken, and the ship as if catches on fire. Then, the waves cover it and the ship disappears. Either the second the curse was taken off the ship drowned, or the curse was not taken off because he shunned her. After everything settles down, two stars appear in the dark sky. The fly towards each other, and as soon as they cross one, brighter star remains isolated in the sky. 

"The sea has neither meaning nor pity." - Anton Chekhov

Written by: Rubina Mazurka

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