I do prefer Tristan Und Isolde and Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg over Der Fliegende Hollander(aka The Flying Dutchman), but I am not denying that Hollander is not a great opera. It is, with one of Wagner's finest overtures, the spinning chorus, Daland's Mogst Du Mein Kind and especially Dutchman's Die Frist Ist Um the standouts of the score. And this 1991 production is just wonderful, of the four productions I've seen(this, 1989, 1986 and 1975 in order of preference) this one is the definitive one. Traditionally designed and staged, it looks both beautiful and atmospheric and never feels dull. The playing of the orchestra is never less than powerful, and Wolfgang Sawallisch shows a conductor in great command and one who knows the music well. The singing is terrific, with Robert Hale showing Dutchman's sense of mystery, self-pity and torment perfectly, and Julia Varady(wife of great baritone Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, himself an outstanding Dutchman on record) a beautifully sung and dramatically riveting Senta. As Daland, Jaakko Ryhanen is suitably ambivalent, and Peter Seiffert doing a good job as one of the least interesting Wagnerian tenor roles in Erik. The chorus sing with great balance and pitch, I was thankful that the spinning chorus didn't plod like it did(and badly) on Levine's set for example. Overall, a superb Dutchman. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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