He's a Hollander, and He's OK

At the Royal Opera House (with one more performance, tonight [March 7] and a BBC Radio 3 broadcast on May 30) is one of the musically finest productions of Wagner's  Die Fliegenede Hollander I can remember. Bryn Terfel looks more like a Monty Python lumberjack than a sailor, let alone the Wandering Jew, but his singing of the role of the Flying Dutchman is so nuanced and dramatic that it's an astonishing bonus that the same is true of Anja Kempe's Senta. There have been a certain number of critical complaints that the costumes, the wavy curtains during the overture, and the large curving set all ignore Wagner's (over)explicit stage directions. However, I feel that Tim Albery's contemporary dress production with splendid, simple sets by Michael Levine,is simply straightforward, with the confidence, unusual as it is welcome, to let the story tell itself. And its single departure from simplicity, when the spinning song takes place in a factory full of sewing machines, is such a good visual joke that it made me love the production even more. Mind you, it was so different from last month's concert performance at the Barbican that it really could almost be another work entirely - but isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it mean that the staging actually adds something significant?

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March 7, 2009 3:34 PM | | Comments (0)

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This page contains a single entry by Plain English published on March 7, 2009 3:34 PM.

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