The Flying Dutchman

Saturday 16 March 2013 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121 345 0600

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor

Jennifer Wilson  Senta

Jane Henschel  Mary

Arnold Bezuyen  Erik

Nicky Spence  Steersman

James Rutherford  Dutchman

Alastair Miles  Daland

CBSO Chorus 

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman 135′

In the teeth of the storm, a sea captain shakes his fist at the devil – and is cursed to roam the seas until doomsday. Only love can save him, but in a small Norwegian village, a young girl has started to dream of a pale stranger… The Flying Dutchman was Wagner’s breakthrough hit, and with its infectiously hummable tunes, it’s the ideal Wagner opera for first-timers. But with Andris Nelsons giving his all to the composer he loves more than any other, in his 200th anniversary year this spectacular concert performance should be unmissable for the aficionados, too.

There will be one interval of 20 minutes between acts one and two.     www.cbso.co.uk

Review by Rohan Shotton, BachTrack:

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…     “Another key part in the opera’s more dramatic moments was the excellent CBSO Chorus. Their close support of the soloists’ material was frequently apparent. They remained seated when echoing the Dutchman during his first appearance, creating a wonderfully ethereal pianissimo, and the ladies’ expression of hope that the Dutchman find his woman was quietly angelic. Acts II and III both open with rousing choruses; the second begins with the ladies’ “Spinning Chorus”, which was given light and crisp treatment, somehow evoking the spinning wheels very effectively. The third act opens with another light-hearted single-gender chorus, this time the sailors’ drinking song, which was vigorous and full of testosterone, setting audience feet tapping and knees bouncing. The subsequent call for the Dutch to awake and join their celebrations carried tremendous power.       […]

[…]     Andris Nelsons directed a very polished performance from the CBSO, with particularly good playing from the horns and timpani. The offstage horns, placed antiphonally, high in the hall, worked well with the opening male chorus, and the orchestral accompaniment was unobtrusive but solid all evening. Their warm, reconciliatory tone in the final pages was followed by a beautiful moment’s silence before a prolonged ovation for an excellent performance.”

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Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:

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…    ” Alastair Miles was a very fine Daland, his bass voice flexible and resonant, making credible the old seafarer’s mix of compassion and more manipulative qualities. Arnold Bezuyen‘s Erik may have been spurned, but he need not shout. Nicky Spence‘s Steersman was vocally impressive, if too obvious in his acting. But it was Nelsons’ closing orchestral sequence, symbolising the redemptive quality of love, with its gloriously voiced last chord, that etched itself deep in the memory.”

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Review by Fiona Maddocks, Observer:

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...     “In a red-letter week, Nelsons and the CBSO also gave a concert performance of The Flying Dutchman with a top cast and sensational playing. Nelsons has frequently confessed his cradle devotion to Wagner the music that first inspired him as a child – memorably demonstrated in Birmingham performances of Lohengrin and Tristan. Given the current flock of aerial Dutchmen – with new stagings last month in Belfast, next in Scotland – this is not the place to dwell on the story. The artistry of singers and players is what counts. The six-strong cast was dominated by James Rutherford in the title role, anguished yet almost aloof and noble in his agony as the seafarer who can never find rest.”     …

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Review by Geoff Brown, The Times £££

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