Flying Dutchman soars

Pacific Opera Victoria Review

John Fanning and Joni Henson star in Pacific Opera Victoria's production of Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman.

Eighteenth century folklore comes alive in Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Richard Wagner’s haunting masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman (German with English surtitles).

Making his debut in the title role, John Fanning delivers a commanding performance as the mysterious Dutchman who carries a curse and is doomed to sail the seven seas until he can find redemption through the love of a faithful woman.

Fanning’s broad stature and chilly expression are well suited to the ghostly character, who is only permitted to go ashore in search of a wife every seven years.

His ship comes alongside that of a Norwegian sailor, Daland (played by bass baritone Gary Relyea), and his crew while his ship is taking refuge from a storm. He tempts the sailor with a bounty for a night’s stay at his home just a few miles away. Oh, and his daughter’s hand in marriage. The greedy sailor accepts the trade and the south wind blows to push them home.

The Victoria Symphony, directed by conductor Timothy Vernon, is another character in the cast of more than 50. The recurring themes are masterfully performed, culminating with gale force horns and crashing timpanis.

The set, too minimal and confusing at times, comes alive in the second act as the rope factory is draped in a mechanical steampunk style. Crystal clear soprano Joni Henson makes her POV debut as Senta, Daland’s daughter, who is enthralled with the sad, pale Dutchman.

This wouldn’t be a musical drama without a love triangle; enter Erik (Tenor Robert Kunzli in his POV debut), Senta’s suitor. When the Dutchman overhears Erik begging Senta to concede she professed her love to him, he decides to admit to the curse and to defeat and set sail for another seven years.

In sorrow, Senta throws herself into the ocean, proving her devotion and breaking the curse, and the two rise to redemption.

At just under three hours, the three-act opera is well performed, but the story line grows tiresome and is drawn out with repetition. M

 

The Flying Dutchman is playing at the Royal Theatre

Oct. 12, 14, 2011, at 8 pm

Matinée October 16 at 2:30 pm

tickets at rmts.bc.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island dance classes billed as female empowerment tool

New Comox Valley business focuses on ‘promoting positive body image’

Duncan’s Big Stick lights up red to signal COVID’s devastation of the arts

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Nanaimo musician plays all instruments on DIY debut album

Jamie Penner releasing guitar-centric instrumental record ‘Out of Curiosity’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Hospice worker and patient butt heads in upcoming Nanaimo theatre production

Yellow Point Drama Group presents ‘Grace and Glorie’ at Cedar Community Hall

Art+Earth Festival gets growing this weekend

Find out what events are in-person and what’s happening online

Film about missing and murdered indigenous women makes Nanaimo debut

A mother and daughter search for answers in Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s ‘Rustic Oracle’

Nanaimo’s Harbour City Photography Club goes virtual to adapt to COVID-19

Club’s exhibitions, meetings and presentations are now occurring online

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Most Read