Richard Wagner - premiere
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
Romantic opera in three acts
Daland, Norwegian sailor – bass
Senta, his daughter – soprano
Eric, hunter – tenor
Mary, Senta's nursing mother – mezzo-soprano
The helmsman of the ship of Daland – tenor
The Dutchman – baritone
Norwegian sailors, crew of the Flying Dutchman ship, girls, friends of Senta.
The action takes place on the Norwegian coast around 1650.
The Flying Dutchman is doomed to wander the vast expanses of the sea forever because he has opposed God. Every seven years, he steps ashore for just a day in an attempt to find redemption. Only the love of a faithful woman, ready to sacrifice herself for him, can free him from the heavy shackles of the curse. Tempted by the ghost captain's wealth, a Norwegian sailor named Daland agrees to give him his daughter Senta's hand. Although she is engaged to the hunter Eric, Senta is obsessed by the legends of the grim fate of the ever-traveling sea captain. As soon as she sees him, the girl vows allegiance to the Dutchman. She is ready to save his soul at the cost of her own life.
A terrible storm forces Daland's ship to seek refuge in a quiet bay. On board, the sailors retreat and leave the helmsman on duty. Exhausted, he falls asleep. The storm is getting stronger and a ghost ship enters the bay among the lightning bolts. The captain goes ashore. A terrible curse hangs over him - to wander forever in the waters of the seas. In vain he tempted death, his ship was not sunk by even the most terrible storms. The only thing that can save him is the love of a faithful woman.
The Dutchman begs Daland to take him in for just one night. In return, he will give him many pearls and precious stones. The old sailor gladly agrees. He tells him about his daughter Senta. The wandering sailor's soul is filled with hope that perhaps he will finally meet the one who will save him. The wind dies down and the Norwegian sailors begin to prepare for the voyage. The two ships, led by a headwind, set sail for Daland's native land.
Senta's friends have gathered at Daland's house. The girls spin and sing. Although she is engaged to the hunter Eric, Senta does not take her eyes off the old portrait of the damned sailor from the legends. The girls try in vain to distract her obsessions. She sings a ballad about the wandering sailor and says aloud what she hides in her heart – she will be the woman who will atone for his sin and give peace to his tormented soul.
Eric enters the room. He has heard the words of his beloved and this terrifies him. Eric has dreamed that a foreign ship arrived and from it came down the sailor from the portrait who took Senta to the sea.
Indeed, along with her father's ship, the ghostly alien and his crew docked on shore. Senta begins to dream even more and to believe in the salvation of the wandering sailor. Desperate, Eric leaves. Daland comes into the room, accompanied by the Dutchman. The father talks about his meeting with the unknown captain and about his plans to marry his daughter to him. The girl is very excited – the face of the stranger is strikingly similar to the sailor in the portrait. The Dutchman is also out of his senses. He asks the girl if she agrees to be his faithful wife. Without hesitation for a moment, Senta swears to him eternal love and fidelity.
On shore, the Norwegian sailors celebrate their happy return home with young men and women from nearby villages. Their joyful songs and dances contrast with the sad sounds coming from the nearby ghost ship. The tormented sailors do not respond to the invitation to join in the fun. Suddenly a strong wind appears and the moon sinks into the clouds. A ghostly song sounds from the Dutch ship, which freezes everyone's blood. The Norwegian sailors try to drown it out with a song of their own, but in vain. The celebration fails and people disperse. Senta runs to the Dutch ship. Eric catches up with her and reproaches her for leaving him. The young man feels betrayed. His beloved forgot in a moment about his love, about the happy moments and promises, about the dreams for their future. Desperate, he tries to bring her back to reality and distract her from her crazy thoughts.
The Dutchman has overheard the conversation. The light of hope had flashed for a moment, but now he is even more desperate and realizes that he is doomed. The sailor tells everyone about his heavy fate and returns to the ship to continue his endless wanderings. Overwhelmed with grief, Senta rushes after the slowly receding ship. She will not break the oath given to the Dutchman. The girl throws herself into the sea. Suddenly the ghost ship sinks. With her death, Senta has atoned for the sins of the eternal wanderer, and now his soul is saved.