Post Cards from the Edge Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman - Saturday, Oct 25th, 2013, 8:00 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman - Saturday, Oct 25th, 2013, 8:00 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House 


Der Fliegende Holländer or The Flying Dutchman is a pretty dark opera.  This particular version is three acts with an intermission between Act I and Acts II and III.  The premise is the Dutchman is doomed to wander the universe until he finds true love and a woman who will remain faithful.  He is permitted to make landfall every seven years to find that love.  A great deal of lore has developed around his voyages, and a ship’s captain learns of the Dutchman, he befriends the Dutchman and invites him home to meet his daughter.  The daughter and the Dutchman soon profess their love.  However, Senta, the daughter already has a beau, Erik. 

In essence, Erik complains, Senta listens but still professes her love of the Dutchman.  The Dutchman stumbles on the scene and assumes Senta is unfaithful.  He leaves to sail the universe again.  Senta, disconsolate, jumps into the sea and drowns. 

The Master of Properties, Lori Harrison, gave a tour the next day of the backstage and props.  She mentioned that when first commissioned, the opera was a turn-key operation from Chicago Opera but the director decided to spice up the stage a bit and suggested a full masted ship be on stage.  Lori’s team started to work on the model and about the time the model was finished, the director decided that instead of a sailing ship, it should be an alien ship - ufo.  They then began to work on that model and had that about halfway completed when the director changed again and went back to the canned version from Chicago.  Lori mentioned it not as a problem but as an example how operas evolve and how the prop division has to turn on a dime.

The image is from the San Francisco Opera web site.

© Fred Searcy 2017