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Cat. No. CHAN 3119(2) Price: £18 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 3119 - Wagner: The Flying Dutchman
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Available From: 11 October 2004
The captain of a Dutch ship, caught in stormy seas as he tries to round the Cape of Good Hope, swears that he will succeed even if it takes him until the Day of judgement. Satan hears this blasphemy and condemns him and his crew to sail the seas for eternity unless he can be redeemed by a woman’s love. He is allowed ashore every seven years and, during one of these brief periods on land, is entertained by a Norwegian captain and his daughter, Senta. Senta is already deeply involved with the legend of the Flying Dutchman and agrees to marry him. However, the Dutchman overhears a conversation between Senta and her former admirer, Erik. He believes she has betrayed him and he sets out to sea. Senta hurls herself into the sea and by her sacrifice, the Dutchman is redeemed.

The Flying Dutchman is based in part on a story by the German poet Heinrich Heine. It was a popular subject, capitalising, as it did, on the nineteenth-century fascination for stories of the supernatural. The opera is a classic of what became known as the Schauerromantik (‘horror romance’) genre.

The Flying Dutchman, Wagner’s fourth opera, is the first fully to embody the composer’s unique style and personal language. It is a work which inaugurated a succession of music-dramas that were to change the face of Western music. As his career developed, the composer returned to the Dutchman score with affection but always made changes whenever he led performances. Wagner was never able to realise what seems to have been his ideal of presenting the opera in one act. It is performed like that on the present recording, which also incorporates the completed changes Wagner made to the score during his lifetime.
A Dutch sea captain of a merchant ship, caught in stormy seas as he tries to round the Cape of Good Hope, swears that he will succeed even if it takes him until the Day of Judgement. Satan hears this blasphemy and condemns him and his crew to sail the seas for eternity unless he can be redeemed by a woman’s love. He is allowed ashore every seven years, and during one of these brief periods on land, is entertained by a Danish captain and his daughter, Senta. Senta already knows about the curse and agrees to marry the Dutchman. However, the Dutchman overhears a conversation between Senta and her former lover, Erik. He believes she has betrayed him and he sets out to sea. Senta hurls herself into the sea and by her sacrifice, the Dutchman is redeemed.

The Flying Dutchman is based in part on a story by the German poet Heinrich Heine, which was in turn based on legends which arose from events in the Anglo-Dutch trade rivalry and wars of the seventeenth-century. It was a popular subject, capitalising, as it did on the nineteenth-century fascination for stories of the supernatural. The opera is a classic of what became known as the Schauerromantik (‘horror romance’) genre.

The Flying Dutchman, Wagner’s fourth opera, is the first to fully embody the composer’s unique style and personal language. It is a work which inaugurated a succession of music-dramas that were to change the face of Western music. As his career developed the composer returned to the Dutchman score with affection but, whenever he himself led performances, never without making some changes. Wagner himself was never able to realise what seems to have been his ideal of presenting the opera in one act. It is performed like that on the present recording, which also incorporates the completed changes Wagner made to the score during his lifetime.
Reviews

'His [Tomlinson's] first aria superbly expounds the Dutchman's haunted and accursed character… She [Stemme] sings with radiant intensity and glorious lyrical tone, and her English diction is immaculate. She sings the Ballad magnificently and in the scene in which she pledges to redeem the Dutchman she and Tomlinson make magic.'
Sunday Telegraph

Christopher Cowell’s English rendering of the libretto is spectacularly well done, preserving no only the meaning of the Wagner’s verse but also the original rhyme scheme… Whether this would be your 10th ‘Dutchman’ or your first, Chandos’s set deserves the strongest consideration.
Fanfare

The performance is excellent – one of the best I’ve encountered in the whole Chandos Opera in English series. Conductor Parry gets off to a slow, patient start, drawing deep, rich playing out of his orchestra. He’s absolutely sizzling by the time he gets to the part of the sometimes called Act 3. The singers are grand enough to suit his conception – no reticent Britishness here!… Parry can stand comparison with the best of them.
American Record Guide

'…with a cast as excellent as this one, it's difficult to spend much time contemplating alternatives.'
Gramophone

'John Tomlinson… is masterful as the Dutchman, exploiting his wide tonal and expressive range. Opposite him as the self-sacrificing heroine, Senta, is Nina Stemme, who two years ago had such a resounding success as Isolde at Glyndebourne. Here she is fresh and true, outshining almost any rival on disc… Most striking of all is the richness of the recorded sound, vividly capturing the fine playing of the LPO under David Parry.'
The Guardian

 

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