Los Angeles. Opera LA Music Center, March 17, 2013. Richard Wagner (1813-1883), THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, opera in 3 acts; libretto by the composer. Production: Nikolaus Lehnhoff. Direction: Daniel Dooner. Sets: Raimund Bauer. Costumes: Andrea Schmidt-Futterer.
Lighting: Duane Schuler. Cast: Tómas Tómasson-Dutchman; James Creswell-Daland; Corey Bix-Erik; Elisabete Matos-Senta. Los Angeles Opera Chorus, Grant Gershon, Director. Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, James Conlon, Conductor. Los Angeles, California, USA.
Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s former production (Chicago, 2001; San Francisco, 2004), very slightly retouched, retains its freshness and all its brilliance here and, in particular, gets right down to essentials. Of course, some psychological elements still remain but the myth, which immediately clears up any ambiguity. is frankly and straightforwardly recounted, as it should be, with explicit precision and accessibility. The timeless universal sets and costumes, often sinister and even macabre, also add, as if it were necessary, another singular and enigmatic dimension to the plot. The spectator becomes immersed in the tale, comes out of it overwhelmed , after150 minutes of uninterrupted music, often opulent, often spasmodic.
For this illusion, this nightmare…a dreamland set! Tómas Tómasson, gangling, pallid, all in black, sporting an enormous piece of headgear whose broad brim hides him. The picture is perfect. Vocally, from the “Die Frist is um,” he has grabbed us. By a strong, booming voice with a brutal, forceful, cavernous and…chilling timbre.
Very solid vocally, with broad brush strokes, James Cresswell paints a comical, ludicrous, spineless and corrupted Daland who does his best to sell his daughter to the highest bidder and manipulate both his Dutchman and his Senta. Sketchy, somewhat tentative, indecisive, vague, Corey Bix’s Erik
Sensational timely debut by Elisabete Matos, whose incarnation of Senta, brazenly self-assured, imperious, accomplished, justifies all the staging. The powerful and well-honed voice, sensuous and full-bodied, with its suitably mature timbre, rings out, grabs, convinces…just as does this interpretation, steeped in anguish, an hallucination in the end, which moves you viscerally. Very good performances from Matthew Plenk (the Pilot) and Ronnita Nicxole Miller (the Nurse.) The Chorus, imposing, incisive, fulfills its role with opulence and brilliance. At the helm, James Conlon–elegant, fluid, discreet–directs an orchestra that is frequently sensual, nuanced, and, when necessary, biting and ardent.
Translation : Miriam Ellis.