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Robert Hale as the Dutchman and Nina Stemme as Senta in the Vlaamse Opera's new production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman

Under Intendant Marc Clemeur and Principal Conductor Massimo Zanetti, de Vlaamse Opera (Flanders Opera) offers a regular season that equates with, say, Welsh National Opera or Washington. Zanetti took the helm for Ernani and Figaro revivals last season, plus a searing and sporadically stylish new production of The Flying Dutchman, directed by Keith Warner. Few could forget the Dutchman's fiery reconciliation to his fate in the performance by Robert Hale, well known in New York for his Wotan,

The culmination of the Vlaamse Opera's production of The Flying Dutchman

or the terrifying Act III sailors' chorus. True, this production took some time to get going, both orchestrally and directorially, despite a particularly superb, high-riding helmsman from Alexei Grigorev and impressive (if slightly too conductor-glued) Daland from Carsten Stabell. But the spinning scene was beautifully managed, both vocally and visually, and the opera built to a cataclysmic culmination with the reuniting of Hale's increasingly awesome Dutchman with the doubly obsessive and strong-willed Senta of Nina Stemme.

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Copyright © 3 October 2000 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK





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