The cast are great on paper and I love the opera. But I was really disappointed in this Netherlands Opera production. By all means it is not as bad as 2008's Bayreuth Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg or 2003's Stuttgart Siegfried, but it is just as disappointing. It does deserve plaudits for fantastic sound quality, lush, powerful orchestral playing and conducting that bring out the mystery of the opera very well, Catherine Nagelstad's searingly intense Senta and Juha Uusitalo's vocally expressive(his voice is not exactly beautiful having a somewhat grainy basic sound but he uses it with great artistry) and tormented Dutchman. However, I was disappointed in Robert Lloyd. I like Lloyd, but his voice has lost a lot of the power and richness it had in the 80s and now sounds worn, and Daland is made to look too much a fop, which may work for Gunther(Gotterdammerung) but for a character as ambivalent as Daland, not really. Erik is perhaps the most one-dimensional tenor role of any Wagner opera, and while sung wonderfully by Marco Jentzsch I found the re-imagining of the character perplexing, almost too intense if that makes sense. The chorus sound great, but didn't really do anything that interesting. But what was most irksome were the costumes, sets and staging. The production actually starts off great with a cold and atmospheric wind, but once the gates fling open the mystery of the opera is completely lost in a sea of trying to introduce clever ideas that end up irritating instead. Tourists looking as though they had just come from a rock concert, immigrant street gangs and a strange mix of monk-like clothes and flashy night club clothing form the costumes, while the idea of having Senta having a spinning wheel on a ship or in a spa made no sense to me. The whole idea of the cast being on a ship at the beginning gave the sense that they were spoofing the story of the opera, and while some may argue that at the start of Act 2 Senta is the only one at a Spinning Wheel while the rest of the ladies pampering themselves was meant to be a contrast between Senta's seriousness and the habitual pampering nature of the other ladies, I still found that way of staging a very odd way of presenting that contrast in all honesty. I do not mind more modern productions, but I don't like touches that are unsubtly done, done in bad taste or don't make sense within the drama, and sadly that was the case with this Der Fliegende Hollander. Thank goodness for the singing of the two leads(and to a lesser extent Jentzsch), the orchestral playing, conducting, sound and the beginning, otherwise the staging and production values alone would have made it a disaster. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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