Theatre / The Flying Dutchman

Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman ), is a German language opera, with libretto and music by Richard Wagner. Wagner claimed in his 1870 autobiography Mein Leben that he had been inspired to write the opera following a stormy sea crossing he made from Riga to London in July and August 1839. In his 1843 Autobiographic Sketch, Wagner acknowledged he had taken the story from Heinrich Heine's retelling of the Flying Dutchman legend in his 1833 satirical novel The Memoirs of Mister von Schnabelewopski (Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopski). The central theme is redemption through love, and not to mention it popularised the whole Flying Dutchman legend in itself alongside Heine's own work.

Wagner conducted the premiere at the Semper Oper in Dresden in 1843. This work shows early attempts at operatic styles that would characterise his later music dramas. In Der fliegende Holländer Wagner uses a number of leitmotifs (literally, "leading motifs") associated with the characters and themes. The leitmotifs are all introduced in the overture, which begins with a well-known ocean or storm motif before moving into the Dutchman and Senta motifs.

The story in itself is about the legendary Dutchman, meeting up with a Norwegian sailor named Daland. Still searching for a way to finish his curse and right about to be given the chance to temporarily set foot on a shore like every seven years to look for a prospect bride who can help him, he asks Daland if he has a daughter of marriage-able and if he would engage her to him; not knowing who he is, Daland says that he does and approves of the prospect wedding. Coincidentally, the guy's daughter is Senta, a beautiful but eccentric young woman who is already fascinated with the legend of the Dutchman; in her first apparition, before even meeting the Dutchman himself, she tells her nanny Mary and her friends that she wants to find and marry him, much to the women's fright and her ex boyfriend Eric's dismay. So the Dutchman manages to cut a deal with Daland about getting Senta engaged to him, unaware of what will take place soon. . .

The Flying Dutchman has the following tropes: