November 11th, 2004

Not Left-Handed

Der Fliegende Holländer

It's Wagner before he truly became Wagner; there are hints of the bel-canto style -- Italian melodicness. Melodicity. Something like that. The Dutchman's leitmotif is cool, but a bit overdone; you can tell he's just starting to work with the idea. He gets more subtle and flexible with that kinda stuff later.

The set was seriously minimalist -- all black and silver. They did some neat stuff with scrims (a watery one for the storm scene, and another with the silhouette of the Dutchman for foreshadowy sorts of stuff -- Senta started out sitting in the middle of the shadow, when she first appeared at the start of Act II) though I wish they'd raised them for a larger portion of the show, as they blur the actors' features a bit, and I think they diffuse the sound a little too, which is fine for choral sections but not so great for soloists. :-/

The costumes were odd. Reminiscent of early German sf/f films like Metropolis, I thought. (The set might've been, too, if there had been more of it. It was the right materials, anyway, but there wasn't a whole lot of structure to look at.) I did like Senta, Erik, and the Dutchman. Daland was OK, and the overcoats the sailors had in Act I (which looked like a cross between your standard north-European oilskin sailor's coat, and the wood-plate armor used by the Manchu and Japanese in the middle ages). Not so keen on the stuff used for the rest of the show. I found it particularly odd that the makeup for the chorus made them look more pale (and corpse-like) than the (kinda undead) Dutchman. Though maybe the director wanted to suggest that his perpetual questing gave him a kind of vitality that average mortals lack.

Good performances from the cast and orchestra, in any case.
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