[Met Performance] CID:315840
Der Fliegende Holländer {135} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/30/1994.

(Debut: Klaus König
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 30, 1994


DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER {135}
Wagner-Wagner

Dutchman................James Morris
Senta...................Hildegard Behrens
Erik....................Klaus König [Debut]
Daland..................Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Mary....................Sondra Kelly
Steersman...............Paul Groves

Conductor...............Hermann Michael

Production..............August Everding
Set designer............Hans Schavernoch
Costume designer........Lore Haas
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler

Der Fliegende Holländer received five performances this season.

Revival a gift of the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for Lincoln Center

Review of Tim Page in Newsday

Wagner's Grand Stormy Voyage

August Everding's serious, searching and sumptuous 1989 production of Wagner's "Der Fliegende Hollander" - "The Flying Dutchman" - returned to the Metropolitan Opera Wednesday night and, unlike many determinedly unconventional operatic settings of familiar masterpieces, this one has only grown more beautiful and powerful with time.

Everding sets Wagner's first important operatic study of his perpetual theme - redemption through love - in a bleak, frosted wasteland; the chill on the Met stage is almost palpable. Everding's principal influence would seem the early Soviet cinema: The [first] scene - frozen ship and sailors adrift in the North Sea, nestled between enormous white glaciers - reminds me of the Battleship Potemkin trapped in marzipan, and the combination of mechanistic bustle and clockwork symmetry in the spinning scene might have been taken directly from an Eisenstein montage.

Other sources could be enumerated - most notably German expressionism (the Caligari creaks and angles; the long, descending gangplank that hesitates to touch the ground) and the maverick theater work of Robert Wilson - but what is remarkable is Everding's ability to knit disparate elements into a satisfying whole and, even more important, to link them convincingly to the opera at hand. And I applaud the Met's decision to present "The Flying Dutchman" in one long act; the spectator is made aware of a consistency, a cumulative power in this gloomy seascape that intermissions would only have sapped.

The Met provided a fine cast all around. James Morris brought his usual mixture of dignity and empathy to the title character, every insinuation subtly calculated to convey his haunting and desolation. Hildegard Behrens' singing may legitimately be described as effortful - Senta is an exceedingly difficult role and it sounded that way - but the essential point to be made is that the efforts paid off. This was the best performance I've heard from this admirable singing actress in some time; "Traft ihr das Schiff," in particular, was exhilarating in its intensity, and the duets with Morris were sure and strong.

In supporting roles, Paul Groves sang the Steersman with unusual sweetness; Klaus König made a vital, credible house debut as Erik; Jan-Hendrik Rootering was an expert Daland, and Sondra Kelly brought a fluttering nervous energy to the role of Mary. I found Hermann Michael's conducting authoritative but also somewhat foursquare; still, the house orchestra played spiritedly for him. It was a good evening to have been at the Met.



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