Chemical Operas #1 – The Flying Dutchman

Bryn Terfel in der fliegende Hollaender at ROH photo Rex.jpg

There are precious few operas which have anything much to say about commercial life, let alone manufacturing industry. With their ludicrous plots and heart-breaking tragedies, it’s difficult to imagine setting any of the stories of murder or mistaken identity in the chemical industry. 

 
Only maybe The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer) which the Blog enjoyed recently at Covent Garden, with Bryn Terfel playing the lead role, might be a contender.
 
For a start the protagonist is indeed a Dutchman and the drama is set amongst Norwegian shipping folk, so plenty in common there with the world we know. He is doomed to travel the world for ever, with a chance only once every seven years to escape from his ceaseless journeying. The whole story speaks of the agony of perpetual travel, and our hero can be redeemed only by the love of a good woman. With only a slight stretching of the imagination, it could be a parable for our times … Or maybe not.
 
(photo Rex) 

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