Wednesday, 20 February 2013

NI Opera's The Flying Dutchman

On Friday night I attended NI Opera's The Flying Dutchman at the Grand Opera House.
Being more of a theatre lover, I'm not a very experienced opera attender.  I attended two children's operas, Noye's Fludde and Elephant Angel early last year, then later in the year, The Magic Flute, all of which I loved.  

This season, I could only afford to choose one event to attend at the Grand Opera House.  As someone who loves the arts and who generally wants to see everything, I simply can't afford to go to everything I want.  This means missing on some of the best events.  Thank goodness then that I decided to choose this production as my 'one to see'.

Wagner's opera tells the tale of a stormy night when a Norwegian sea captain encounters the Flying Dutchman - a ghostly captain doomed to sail the seas for all eternity. The two men strike a deal, but when things do not go according to plan, other lives are pulled into the resulting maelstrom.

The opening sequence was beautiful and was my favourite part of the production. As the orchestra played, the stage was covered in a blanket of falling snow as waves crashed at the back of the stage. The bleakness  of the otherwise empty stage really set the scene for the drama to come.  The Dutchman's huge ship sailed into view and it's ghostly appearance was impressive.  Of course links have to be made to the Titanic, but I couldn't help but think of that other famous Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones' ship in Pirates of the Carribean!        
I really enjoyed the ethereal beauty of the whole of Act One and the Ulster Orchestra as always were astounding.  

Acts Two and Three were equally engaging and I thought that the leads were strong, especially Giselle Allen as Senta, her fiery passion set against Bruno Caprioni as the serious and bleak Dutchman.  I enjoyed the chorus a lot, their enthusiasm drawing me in closer to listen to the words.  It was nice to see some familiar faces in the chorus as well. I love that Belfast can not only produce an opera of this size, but also that we have produced home-bred opera singers of such calibre.

Despite some apprehension that Wagner may be too difficult for me as a new fan of opera, I followed the story completely and was absolutely mesmerized by the entire production.  I'll be back to see NI Opera for The Bear in March.  Click here for more info.            

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