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Your Reaction: Der fliegende Holländer

What did you think of Tim Albery's production of Wagner's first great work?

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

6 February 2015 at 11.38am | 17 Comments

Press reviews:

Telegraph ★★★★
Guardian ★★★★
Arts Desk ★★★★
What's on Stage ★★★★
The Stage ★★★★
Music OMH ★★★★
Times ★★

What did you think of Der fliegende Holländer?


The production is given with generous philanthropic support from Marina Hobson OBE and the Wagner Production Syndicate.

By Lottie Butler (Former Assistant Content Producer (News and Social Media))

6 February 2015 at 11.38am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged audience reaction, by Tim Albery, Der fliegende Holländer, Production, review, Social Media, The Royal Opera, tweet, Wagner, your reaction

This article has 17 comments

  1. Sarah Turnage responded on 6 February 2015 at 2:06pm Reply

    I wish I could see and hear this Dutchman - but I can’t go to the cinema. Can it be posted on Youtube so that it can be experienced via computer?

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 6 February 2015 at 5:49pm

      Dear Sarah

      Thanks for your message - delighted to hear that you're keen to watch Dutchman.

      Unfortunately, the posting of performances online requires additional rights clearances over and above those we have secured for cinema relay. We have secured online streaming for productions in the past and will continue to do so on a case by case basis, but I'm afraid that to do so is far from straightforward. We will not be able to stream Der fliegende Holländer in this case.

      Best wishes


  2. Bruce responded on 6 February 2015 at 4:36pm Reply

    Andris Nelsons RULES. He makes the ROH orchestra sound like an entirely different - and wholly magical - instrument; much as he accomplished in Elektra. The cast was uniformally excellent throughout. Peter Rose dazzled as Daland much as Ed Lyon did as a wonderfully stentorian Steersman. Surely Terfel has done nothing MORE brilliant than this ... His truth in music breathed life into the Dutchman. ... It was searing. Pieczonka's Senta was the axis around which all - all else - revolved - and rightfully so. Here is the soprano equivalent of a Jon Vickers - and not just because she is Canadian. The voice emboldens; it entreats, emoldens and inspires minds, hearts and spirits all at a strikingly dramatic once. We - her audience - lived Senta's catalytic emotions aside and through her. Michael Konig was additionally towering - as well he might in this Senta's midst - as the woe-begotten Erik and the entire chorus - and indeed - thrilling production did more than just embrace Wagner's masterwork; it set it to effective and engrossing sail.

    This was very much an evening to feel proud of the ROH. Thank you, ROH ... and if it is not being entirely churlish ... More please. More Nelsons; much more Pieczonka ... PLEASE!!!!

    But a word of advice: GO; GO while you can; GO AT ANY PRICE... and even if you feel you can't make or stretch to it, please strive to make provision. You will thank yourself later. Promise. This experience - for that is what it is - is entirely life enriching.

  3. Anna arthur responded on 13 February 2015 at 12:04am Reply

    Wonderful performance tonight (12th) tonight Adrianne Pieczonka tonight and Ed Lyon . Terfel way below par though.
    Very atmospherics and no problem to sit through two and half hours with no break but did Andris Nelsons really need to keep glugging water like a baby with a comforter?

    • Brian George responded on 13 February 2015 at 4:44pm

      All main characters were excellent except for the Dutchman - pity it was not a football match and he could have been substituted! Perhaps he had a problem - Wotan's revenge?

      One of my difficulties with the production is the lack of a portrait - how does Senta recognise the Dutchman? Osmosis?

  4. Maggie Dunn responded on 13 February 2015 at 9:10pm Reply

    Disappointing in parts. At times the orchestra was so loud it was only possible to hear the soloists 'in there somewhere'. Most disappointing was Bryn. He sounded exhausted. I wondered if perhaps he had already been singing all day elsewhere. Was not worth the ticket price this time. Set design was brilliant.

  5. Simon responded on 13 February 2015 at 10:06pm Reply

    Very disappointing evening. If Bryn was not match fit he should not really have sung. I would rather hear a good understudy than a poor lead. Would he have not sung had they not been filming that night I wonder.

  6. Johanna responded on 15 February 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

    Went to see this on the 12th and like everybody else I have to say this was a bit of a disappointment. The set design was magnificent and so were almost all the singers. But that only made it even more apparent that Bryn Terfel's voice was breaking regularly and even when it didn't he sounded flat. Such a shame! Does the ROH not do understudies? There were parts where I actually had to resort to reading the subtitles because I couldn't make out a single word. I'd been looking forward to this performance for months and would much rather have heard a good understudy than a lead who honestly sounded like he should be in bed with a hot mug of tea.

  7. Juliet Chaplin responded on 16 February 2015 at 11:40pm Reply

    I have seen this bizarre production several times. (And other productions). Some of it is all right but why have sewing machines when the score, stage directions and libretto specify spinning wheels? And why make the women look such frumps?

    Musically it was WONDERFUL. Fine orchestra, excellent conductor, great soloists. Haven't seen Pieczonka before but will look forward to seeing her again. Always enjoy seeing Bryn Terfel whom I first heard pre-Cardiff 1989! All the other parts very well taken too, and the chorus. The ghostly chorus was spine-chilling. Wagner knew just what he was doing; it's a masterpiece.

  8. Csaba responded on 17 February 2015 at 10:57pm Reply

    Not only the dutchman was in agony: Bryn away ill, orchestra often too loud to discern singing, comment already made but the women are spinning not sowing, and indeed the 80s Eastern European costumes struggle to convince on sailing ships. Quite expensive for 190 quid. Next time I will read the reviews before next ROH production.

  9. Dennis Walder responded on 17 February 2015 at 11:38pm Reply

    Saw this evening's version with Bryn T's replacement, a solid but unexciting Latvian bass baritone who stepped in at last moment. Pieczonka's brilliant, plangent singing rescued the evening, and Albery's staging continues to provide good context. Orchestra uneven, especially the brass, however. Get well, Bryn!

  10. James Gordon responded on 18 February 2015 at 8:37am Reply

    Perhaps, but I don't think entirely, because of Bryn Terfel's absence, the chorus and orchestra were the real stars. Thrilling, where necessary chilling, throughout. No qualms vocally about the leads, but it just didn't stack up dramatically.

    This is a difficult piece to bring off, clunky, uneven, far more hampered by stylistic disparity than the Paris Tannhäuser. Playing Daland as a buffo only partly rectifies this, even when Peter Rose does it so brilliantly.

    The real problem is the production. It contains many good ideas, but somehow it illustrates Wagner's mishmash of myth and Biedermeier realism without managing to bring the needed unity. Maybe this is inevitable as it opts for the (all too familiar nowadays) ending in which a deranged Senta collapses or dies without being united with the departing Dutchman. If directors don't believe in the possibility of transcendence, and I agree it is hard to imagine these two characters united forever more in happy domesticity, then the solution is simple: play this piece as the missing first three acts of Duke Bluebeard's Castle.

  11. Peter Martindale responded on 18 February 2015 at 3:01pm Reply

    No Bryn, which was a disappointment, but reading the above perhaps not. Always difficult to know when to abandon ship and when to sail on regardless. I didn't catch the name of the replacement & would have liked a flyer with the programme. He sang well at short notice. It was a 'solid' performance which got stronger as the story unfolded. Still a great production worth keeping in the repetoire, but lacked the sharpness of the first time round.

  12. Suzanneh responded on 20 February 2015 at 11:46pm Reply

    Standing for two and a half hours-oh goodness! Worth every minute. Stunning duets, scenery and just loved the production. How did you get water on stage to paddle for the helmsman to fall over and splash in? Thank you.

  13. Bonnie Robinson responded on 21 February 2015 at 3:12pm Reply

    Saw the performance on 20 Feb. I've been discouraged by this pedestrian production in the past but last night's artists were superb and I found the evening unexpectedly moving and memorable. Do see it!

  14. Francois Girardot responded on 24 February 2015 at 2:30pm Reply

    I don't know if it was because it was the premiere (05/02) but I found the orchestra and the singers out of sync in the "1st act". Surprising coming from Andris Nelsons. Good production overall but maybe very psychological: I did not feel enough "love" in the duet of the Hollander and Senta and I kind of missed "a jump" in the final scene. To me, the good surprise of the night was Adrianne Pieczonka!

  15. Just seen in Australia. Singing was beautiful and I found the best solution was shut my eyes as much as possible and just listen. The production was a huge disappointment. Lighting effects during the Overture were absolutely pathetic. The scenery in the whole performance was basically penny pinching with no real dramatic effects. Where were the blood red sails and black masts of the ghost ship? The odd rope and porthole was amateurish. A great embarrassment for a sea-faring nation. The collapse of Senta at the end was indecisive - another production had The Dutchman and Senta ascending together to heaven in spirit after she leaped from a cliff. I will not be buying a DVD.

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