Daland – Matti SalminenSenta – Catherine Nagelstad
Erik – Wookyung Kim
Mary – Okka von der Damerau
Steersman – Dean Power
Dutchman – Johan Reuter
Peter Konwitschny (director)Johannes Leiacker (designs)
Michael Bauer (lighting)
Werner Hintze (dramaturgy)
Chorus and Extra Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera (chorus master: Søren Eckhoff)Bavarian State Orchestra
Asher Fisch (conductor)
|Nationaltheater, Munich. Image: Felix Löchner|
Let me turn, though, to what I had seen and heard before. My memory and my experience are doubtless coloured by the ‘other’ events of that night. Nevertheless, what I saw and heard was impressive indeed, on its own terms. Our friends at Against Modern Opera Productions – how chilling it was to see, that very night, them railing, as if Hitler had never fallen, against ‘degenerate’ artists – might even have liked, had they not seen the word ‘Konwitschny’, the realistic designs from Johannes Leiacker, with which the mise-en-scène opens. For it is a (German) Romantic, even Gothic landscape that provides the backdrop. Apart from anything else, this is a ghost story: every one of us, every society, is overwhelmed by ghosts from our pasts. So too, of course, is opera. Nevertheless, ships are definitely ships; the sea and sky are definitely the sea and sky. The Dutchman’s crew, moreover, are most definitely Golden Age Dutchmen. The painterliness is, in one sense at least, ironic. AMOP would not have ‘got’ that; representations and their deconstruction would have gone unnoticed, uncomprehended. They would surely, though, have noticed the heightened venality not only of Daland, but his crew too (modern Norwegians, but as yet, not with an overwhelming Wagnerian clash between ghostly visitors and the ‘present’). Daland’s pockets of a few golden chains; the Steersman crowns himself with a golden crown; the other lads eagerly join in the bonanza: there is much jewellery to be had from the new ship’s Cardillac-like cargo, unless, as one of Wagner’s less-eagerly acknowledged forebears might have advised him, ‘L’or est une chimère’. A chimera of another variety haunts the Dutchman: the Angel in white who visits the stage. This Dutchman is a man, with sexual fantasies of his own; they distract him, pave the way for tragedy; they lead us to the second act.
The rest was silence; until, that is, it became the noise of chaos.