Opening of the Opera Season 2012-2013 - Der fliegende Holländer

Gianandrea Noseda opens the Season with Wagner
In the most memorable scene signed by Willy Decker

Teatro Regio, Friday 12th October 2012 at 20:00

The 2012-2013 Opera Season of the Teatro Regio opens on 12th October, 2012 with Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) the first romantische Oper  by Richard Wagner. This is the story of love that goes beyond limits. On the podium to conduct the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio and Chorus Maghini is the maestro Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of the Regio, who will be directing three productions at the Regio and thus confirming his strong ties with the Theater this year.

In occasion of the most anticipated opera of the Season, the Regio is pleased to announce its partnership with Intesa Sanpaolo - Founder of the theatre. Intesa Sanpaolo has decided to give a fundamental support for the production of Wagner, the German composer, making it a special season marked by Wagner’s two hundredth birth anniversary in 2013. 

The opera will be presented as a reprise of Willy Decker’s direction for the Opéra National in Paris in 2000, reprise never seen before in Italy. The Regio then returns to host another creation of the German director after the unforgettable Peter Grimes in 2010. Decker’s idea for this play is based on absences and suggestions: there are few elements on the scene (strings, some chairs) but above all a giant white door that represents a boundary between different dimensions. Everything is essential and strongly evocative as the director explained in an interview the day after the first performance: «In the theater you cannot represent the real sea, in all its immensity and you cannot bring up a real ship either, therefore the Dutchman must be a picture, a story, a ballad ... In fact, the storm that thunders in Wagner's music could not be displayed on the scene but it comes to life through the individuals». Wolfgang Gussmann has created the sets and costumes, both marked by great simplicity; Hans Tölstede has designed the lights. The maestro Claudio Fenoglio will direct the Chorus of the Teatro Regio. It also foreseen participation of the Chorus Maghini of Torino prepared by maestro Claudio Chiavazza.

The Flying Dutchman is considered the first ‘mature’ musical drama of Wagner where he left aside the obvious influence of French grand-opéra, showing several new elements that anticipate his next production: the first leitmotifs for characters and feelings, still recognizable, in broader and continuous scenes, especially in accordance with the episodes of fantastic nature. In addition to the French model, which becomes evident in most scenes of crowds, Wagner also bore in mind the Italian tradition, as Noseda explains: «The Dutchman is, along with Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, the most "Italian" of Wagner’s work. The Dutchman’s monologue and Senta's ballad-tunes could have well been a scene by Verdi. And it's important to remember that Wagner’s opera is an opera to be sung. Although the orchestra appears to be central, the singing should always be exalted. As an Italian director, if I can shed light on this aspect I would be happy». Noseda also adds: «We are running the version in a single act, as if it were a single "cast iron" piece, because it follows the original concept created by Willy Decker».

In the summer of 1839 when Wagner, chased by his many creditors, sailed for London on board the merchant ship Thetis. The trip was full of unexpected difficulties, but also of interesting sounds: in his autobiography, Mein Leben, 1870, the composer wrote that the noise of sails being folded during a storm in the Norwegian fjords was etched in his memory giving him the initial idea for The Flying Dutchman. Although the alleged autobiographical inspiration is only partly true, it is indisputable that he has dealt with his literary source rather freely; the novel by Heinrich Heine, entitled The memoirs of Herr von Schnabelewopski where he identified himself with the tortured and persecuted protagonist, introducing however two fundamental themes: curse and redemption through a woman. Wagner conceived the opera bearing in mind the Opéra de Paris. He presented a libretto to the theater of a single act opera which was accepted, but assigned to another musician, Pierre-Louis Dietsch, who wrote Le Vaisseau fantôme. Wagner, disappointed, worked on his opera and subdivided it into three acts. He also changed the setting and the names of the characters and then proposed it to the theatre in Dresden, where it actually was staged in 1843.

To emphasize the legendary aspect of the story, Wagner composed his drama without a precise chronological time. The opera begins with strong hints of seamanship; along the coasts of the North Sea where a storm swept ashore two very different characters: the first is a frank and naïve Norwegian sailor, Daland, the other is a pale Dutchman, commandeering an eerie vessel loaded with treasures. The Dutchman, having cursed God, is forced to live long years wandering the seas and only the faithful love of a woman would be able to change his fate. When the two men meet, the Dutchman learns that Daland has a daughter and offers him his treasure in exchange for her hand; the sailor accepts and leads him to see his daughter, the young Senta. Daland's daughter, however, is betrothed to Erik, but deep in her heart she knew she was bound to another man, the protagonist of a dark legend. As soon as Senta and the Dutchman meet, they realize that they are destined to each other, but Erik wants to prevent them from being together and reminds the girl of her previous promise. Seeing them together, the Dutchman doubts the loyalty of Senta and decides to break up with her, revealing his identity, until then unbeknownst to all. The girl realizes that her premonition came true: the man is the hero of a legend and she is the woman chosen to save him, so while he is preparing to set sail, Senta throws herself into the sea and declares her innocence. The sacrifice is not in vain, because the ship sinks, freeing the Dutchman man from his eternal curse.

In this set signed by Willy Decker, whose direction is taken care of for the occasion by Stefan Heinrichs, the Dutchman will have the authoritative voice of the African-American bass-baritone Mark S. Doss, who returns to the Teatro Regio after his performance as Klingsor in Parsifal in the last Season. In the role of Senta, is the Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, engaged in the same part this summer at the Bayreuth Festival. Stephen Gould, acclaimed as a Wagnerian dramatic tenor, will play Erik. The basso Steven Humes will play the role of Daland, the mezzo-soprano Claudia Nicole Bandera will play the role of Mary and the tenor Vicente Ombuena the helmsman of Daland.

Throughout the eight performances from 12th October to the 21st, the title roles will be alternated between: Thomas Hall (the Dutchman), Ann Petersen (Senta), Kor-Jan Dusseljee (Erik) and Kurt Rydl (Daland).

Der fliegende Holländer will be presented to the public by Giorgio Pestelli at Incontro con l'Opera to take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 10th October at 17.30.

The programme will be broadcast, as usual, on RAI-Radio3 on Friday 12th October at 20:00.

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Turin, 28th September 2012

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