The Flying Dutchman, a grand opera in three acts by German composer Richard Wagner is one of the most dazzling works of opera. It premiered in 1843 at Dresden’s Semperoper, and is one of the first Wagner operas where his ‘music drama’ comes to the fore, and in which the orchestra’s role is equal to that of the singers, progressing the drama with its performance of the leitmotifs. As the source for the libretto Wagner used a satirical novel by the great author of romanticism Heinrich Heine, The Memoirs of Herr von Schnabelewopski, which retells an old legend of a haunted seaman doomed to eternally wander the seas, and who brings ruin to whomever he meets. According to Wagner himself, he was also inspired by a tumultuous sea voyage from Riga to London across the North Sea in the summer of 1839. At the heart of the action, that takes place in the 17th century off the coast of Norway, is Wagner’s idea of a woman redeemer, Senta. She is a girl who is ready to save the soul of the cursed seaman with her selfless love. Despite the many elements of romanticism in the opera, The Flying Dutchman introduces the operatic styles that would characterize Wagner’s later works such as the The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods. From here begins my career as a poet, and my farewell to the mere concoctor of opera-texts, wrote Wagner about The Flying Dutchman. I don’t know if ever in an artist’s life has such a radical change happened in such a short time. Although the Flying Dutchman premiered in Zagreb in 1896, under the direction of Stjepan Miletić, and became one of the more popular of Wagner’s operas here, it is only after three decades that the CNT Opera will premiere it in its new season, bringing back this exciting work to the stage of our greatest national theatre. The opera will be conducted by Nikša Bareza and directed by the renowned French theatre artist Olivier Py.
NIKŠA BAREZA graduated in conducting from the Zagreb Academy of Music and continued his training with some of the greatest Croatian and international conductors. For years he has collaborated with world-renowned conductors and the most eminent composers of the 20th century. He has worked with the greatest orchestras around the world and has been the head conductor of several outstanding European orchestras. Since 2014 he has been the director of Opera at the CNT in Zagreb.
OLIVIER PY, is a prominent French author, director and actor. As well as studying at a prestigious Paris art university and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, he has also studied philosophy and theology. He had his first play performed at the Avignon Festival. In 2007 he was appointed head of the French national Odeon theatre, and from 2013 he has been the director of the Avignon Festival, having directed more than 40 operas in France.