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About the opera

The Flying Dutchman was one of the first operas written by Richard Wagner to his own libretto in Dresden in 1843.

There were a number of interpretations of the legend about the Flying Dutchman before Wagner implemented them into his work. Walter Scott being a real history explorer stated that the legend based on a real historical event. One murderer loaded a cargo of gold aboard his ship. A tempest burst out during his voyage and all the ports turned out to be closed for that ship. That story, as well as the superstitious fear of seafarers that seeing the ghost ship brings misfortunes, acquired a number of picturesque details as time was passing by. There was a belief that once in seven years the captain can get ashore and stay there until he finds a woman who will love him to death.

The idea to use that story came to Wagner during a very strong tempest that burst during his voyage from Eastern Prussia to England. The voyage that tended to last for seven days extended for three weeks that time. The wind threw the vessel to the Scandinavian shore not far from some fishermen’ village and exclamations of the sailors that the opera has were likely to be heard by the composer right there: the triple echo sounded in the fjord flying from one rock to the other.

In several weeks, in Paris, being in a desperate financial state Wagner brought his libretto called The Flying Dutchman to the Parisian Grand Opera Manager. “We will never perform music by some unknown German composer so there is no point composing it”, he said. However, having received 500 Franks Wagner went home… to start writing his opera.

Today The Flying Dutchman is on stage not only in all German theatres and but in many opera theatres throughout the world.  


    October, 2020