Wagner, Richard: Der fliegende Holländer

Hartmut Haenchen, Robert Lloyd, Catherine Naglestad, Marco Jentzsch, Marina Prudenskaja, Oliver Ringelhahn, Juha Uusitalo, Netherlands Opera Chorus, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Inszenierung: Martin Kusej, Produktion der Nederländischen Oper

Opus Arte, 4947487, 2010

Enthaltene Werke

Wagner, Richard: Der fliegende Holländer


5 Sterne
Drammatico e coinvolgente allestimento
...ma quello che non danno loro lo dà l'orchestra diretta da Hartmut Haenchen con impeto, veemenza e perfetto senso drammatico.
www.amazon.it, 07. Januar 2014
Quant au Vaisseau fantôme, c’est celui – monté à Amsterdam en 2010 – par l’Autrichien Martin Kusej (né en 1962), proposant une relecture radicale du livret. Daland est le capitaine d’un paquebot de croisière dont les passagers affrontent la tempête avec un gilet de sauvetage sur les épaules (... quand ils ne se prélassent pas près de la piscine du pont supérieur) et qui voit monter à son bord des boat people à la dérive. Contre toute attente, la transposition fonctionne irrésistiblement bien, l’errance contemporaine des candidats à l’eldorado occidental résonnant avec acuité dans celle des hommes du Hollandais – transformé lui-même en passeur d’immigrés clandestins. On salue aussi la performance orchestrale, Hartmut Haenchen opérant un remarquable travail sur les nervures rythmiques, n’hésitant pas à assumer une certaine brutalité. Anguleuse et pleine d’élan, déchaînant la houle des passions, sa baguette trouve le soutien d’un Orchestre philharmonique des Pays-Bas d’une fière assurance. La distribution est convenable – bien que l’on regrette le timbre ordinaire de la voix de Marco Jentzsch en Erik et l’usure de celle de Robert Lloyd en Daland (malgré un grain préservé) – en ce qu’elle se coule totalement dans le concept scénographique. Malgré une voix sèche qui force souvent, Juha Uusitalo donne même au rôle-titre (dont il possède la carrure) toute l’autorité nécessaire et s’accorde à merveille à la Senta – assurée sinon possédée – de Catherine Naglestad.
www.concerto.net, 14. März 2013
http://mostlyopera.blogspot.com, 1.2.2012

A group of tourists are stranded. Behind them , and set of double glass doors, the swimming pool of the hotel is visible. The sleek tour guide (Daland) muses around, trying to find a solution, which arrives with the Dutchman´s bag of Euros. Who are the black-hooded people behind the glass doors? Criminals? Escaped members from the Dutchman´s crew, we later find out. At that point, an unusually resourceful Erik has already killed some of them. What are they really? An allegory of illegal immigrants in Europe as alluded by some? Or just a gang of criminals?

Senta is completely detached from reality, sitting alone by an old spinning-wheel as the only one amidst modern women hanging a swimming pool including a posh Mary in silver cocktail dress. That Catherine Naglestad´s Senta is rather mature seem fittingly here - she has been living outside reality for a long time.

Late, in Act 3, the stage is switched around, now we are among the black-clad, looking at the swimming-pool party.

The relationship between Erik, Senta and the Dutchman is at the centre of this staging, with focus on Erik. Eventually he doesn´t accept the relation between Senta and the Dutchman and ends by shooting (and killing) both the Dutchman and Senta. Redemption? Not Martin Kusej´s style.

Hitting more often than missing, this is nevertheless not one of Martin Kusej´s best stagings (on DVD, look for Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk or Rusalka) as he lacks a certain clarity of conception.

Catherine Naglestad has both charisma, and heft, and gets better and better. Her vocal strong point is her high register, though if your reference is Leonie Rysanek, she will eventually fall short. Without being exceptional, slightly too wobbly and not too high on the charisma scale, Juha Uusitalo is nevertheless a better Dutchman than Wotan.

Robert Lloyd (born 1940), thus 70 years at the time of the performance, was more than adequately challenged as Daland, while Marco Jentzch convinced as Erik.

Swift and transporting reading from Hartmut Haenchen.

Unfortunately, important recent productions such as Peter Konwitschny´s in Munich are not (yet?) available on DVD. and generally, the Dutchman competition on DVD is not overwhelming. Though old-fashioned by todays standards, Harry Kupfer´s 1978 Bayreuth production may still be the choice for many.
http://mostlyopera.blogspot.com, 01. Februar 2012
.... The star of the show is conductor Hartmut Haenchen, who knows when to goose the score into high-dramatics (the timpani player certainly earns his fee throughout the performance), and when to ease up and let a moment drift into mystical reverie. He gets crisp work from the chorus – which is at times less-than-optimally placed onstage – and draws committed singing from a cast that no one would confuse for a Golden Age ensemble, but who get the job done. ...

Soprano Catherine Naglestad makes the deepest impression as a quietly intense, unambiguously middle-aged Senta, whose gutsy, mezzo-ish middle-voice gives way to occasionally edgy high notes, but who strikes a nice balance between dreaminess and full-on psychosis.
Her Dutchman, baritone Juha Uusitalo, is an idiosyncratic singer. As recorded here, he gives the impression of ample vocal power, though my one encounter with him in live performance (in this same opera, at the Met) revealed a much smaller voice, over-parted by Wagner’s demands. That may explain his tendency toward explosive attacks, barked-out phrasing and general straining for volume, and accounts for the thinness and wear in his upper register. Yet, though he’s not much subtler as an actor (there’s a lot of mugging and wild-eyed staring going on), he practically hurls himself into the role, and we’re never in doubt about the damage this man has taken from the high-stakes gamble he makes every seven years.
Marco Jentzsch is an unusually convincing Erik, offering a believable mix of arrested adolescence, ardor, incredulity and defensive sarcasm – which make up for a somewhat pinched and nasal tenor that (sensitively though he phrases much of his part) becomes a bit wearing. Tenor Oliver Ringelhahn’s Steersman alternates skittishness with doltish swagger, his generally sweet-toned voice not entirely masking the strain when he tries to modulate volume on his high notes.
Mezzo Marina Prudenskaja does a nice job with the tiny role of Mary (here a glammed-up and self-absorbed party girl). And it’s a pleasure to encounter veteran singer Robert Lloyd – his bass still possessing some of its accustomed velvet, though portions of it have inevitably parched a bit with age – in the role of Daland, having fun with the way the character is interpreted here as a wealthy and entitled yachtsman.
What might prove divisive about this performance is the work of stage director Martin Kušej. If viewers can accept the tone of comic irony he strikes through most of Act 1 (tourists in storm-soaked, garishly colored leisure-wear flooding into a shipside waiting-room and being serenaded by the Steersman, who steals a gold-sequined jacket from an unconscious cruise-band musician and summons a spotlight for his song), and the early scenes of Act 2 (the women’s chorus prepping for their boyfriends’ arrival with spa treatments, make-up regimens, party-clothes fittings and dips in the upstage swimming pool, while Senta sits, shrouded in black, at a lone spinning wheel, with an oil painting of a storm-tossed coastline resting against her chair), they’ll find that Kušej does some clever deconstructing and creates a potent level of atmosphere.
There’s much made of outsider status throughout the staging. Senta is a universe away from the other women in her circle – an old-world Romantic in stark black, isolated as an island in the sea of day-glo silks and taffetas, worn by giggly, superficial women she is expected to emulate. The Dutchman (in a telling visual parallel) first drifts into view as the sole, black-clad figure staggering his way among all the Hawaiian-shirted, souvenir-clutching pleasureboat passengers – completely alone in a throng of uncomprehending rubes. (Kudos to Heide Kastler, whose costume designs are cannily spot-on everywhere in this production.)
Most effective is Kušej’s treatment of the Dutchman’s crew who, in their dark, hooded jackets and sweatpants call to mind blackmarket pirates, urban gang members, homeless addicts and reaper-like angels of death – all, somehow, appropriate metaphors for figures who strike terror in the hearts of anyone who encounters them. They gather menacingly outside the bank of glass-and-steel doors that bisect the stage into upstage vs. downstage (interior vs. exterior, wild vs. controlled, insider vs. outsider) planes, then scatter like rats on a signal from the Dutchman.
In Act 2, several of them enter bleeding – caught in gunplay during criminal acts? – and die in the swimming pool, turning the water red. In an interesting bit of business, they hand over wads of cash to the Dutchman early in the opera, then steal it back from his dead body (like Senta, he is murdered by a disgusted and panicked Eric in this telling of the story), and flee from him at the final curtain. Very effective stuff and germane to the action – which doesn’t hurt.
Designer Martin Zehetgruber has supplied a striking version of what has become the archetypal stage set for any deconstructionist director worth his salt – the cold, featureless corporate space – and Reinhard Traub has lit it in suitably soulless faux-florescence. It all looks terrific in Blu-ray, and video director Joost Honselaar has done a clever job of pointing up the links between Senta’s painting of the sea and the Act 3 backdrop – which is that same painting writ large – adding a neatly crafted opening montage of storm-tossed seas and close-ups on orchestral players for the overture.
There’s a short, only mildly illuminating behind-the-scenes documentary, which strives to explain the production, but inexplicably does not include a word from Martin Kušej! No matter – his concept speaks very well for itself onstage.
Joe Banno
http://theclassicalreview.com, 02. Dezember 2011
It is a quirk of the opera repertory that Der Fliegende Holländer is more often produced because stage directors are attracted to the dramaturgy than because singers or audiences are clamoring for it. Martin Kušej's 2010 production from Amsterdam is the latest in a line of intelligent, sustained engagements with Wagner's text. It is a clever, almost coy subversion of the elements Wagner would have thought to be essential. There is a painting, yes, but it is a seascape, not a portrait. There are nautical costumes, but not a hint of anything else related to a ship. Senta is granted an anachronistic spinning wheel, but only as a symbol of just how far out of touch she is with her day-spa-denizen girlfriends. Kušej is primarily interested in the Dutchman–Senta relationship, so the Act II duet is the highlight of the staging. There are no fussy details; instead, much is made of whether or when he is finally going to touch her. Contact is near but averted for a long while, since she wholeheartedly desires it but won't initiate it. Finally, as if willed by the music, it happens.
Kušej's direction and Martin Zehetgruber's set designs almost pull everything together, but ultimately they are just muddled enough to be distracting. Two parallel rows of glass doors upstage seem to be part office building (with a steel security gate) and part hotel lobby where the chorus members take refuge from some sort of vacation disaster. In between them, a lap pool is eventually revealed. But are those darting men in hooded sweatshirts joggers or burglars? Eventually, too late, we realize that they are escaped members of the Dutchman's crew. (One of them dies a bloody death in the pool.) The intention behind the production, that simple things can be taken on several levels, is more fully realized by Heide Kastler's single costume for Senta: part bathrobe, part monk's cowl, part dark evening-dress, it ties a lot of ideas together. So does Catherine Naglestad's electric Senta. This is an intensely musical performance, every note sung, with her ballad thrilling because she doesn't perform it as a set piece. Strong-willed — she sings the line "I don't know what I'm doing" with bitter irony — she carries the show.
No one else is on her level, but Juha Uusitalo's Dutchman is a decidedly better singer when he is onstage with her. Robert Lloyd, days from his seventieth birthday, finds Daland to be a big stretch. (He's gotten up as the millionaire yachting dilettante Thurston Howell, so why would he covet the Dutchman's riches?) Conductor Hartmut Haenchen is equally fine in the tiny details, such as the accompaniment figures in the Daland–Dutchman duet, and the long spans.
Given that two of the most important Holländer productions — Ponnelle's 1975 San Francisco mounting, where the Steersman entered his own dream and became Erik, and Guth's recent Bayreuth rendering, about a seven-year-old girl with the biggest Daddy fixation of all time — were never filmed and released commercially, Kušej's version might have swept the DVD field. But Act III lets us down. Kušej hasn't found an equivalent, on his own terms, for the overwhelming choral climax, and he paints himself into a hopeless corner for the final two minutes. There is still not a completely satisfying Holländer on DVD. Production styles move on, but the Harry Kupfer staging for Bayreuth, filmed in 1985, retains more than documentary interest.
Opera News (Metropolitan Opera Guild New York), 01. Dezember 2011
9 von 10 Sternen

Œuvre de transition dans l'ensemble du corpus wagnérien, Le Vaisseau fantôme troque, dans cette production hollandaise, son habit d'opéra romantique en trois Actes contre une parure contemporaine à la dramaturgie réinventée par le metteur en scène Martin Kuešj. Cet enregistrement réalisé en 2010 au Amsterdam Music Theatre est disponible en Blu-ray et en DVD chez Opus Arte.

Les deux grands thèmes qui parcourent tout l'opéra s'incarnent en deux motifs, véritable ciment des trois Actes, cités dès l'ouverture : le motif de La Malédiction du Hollandais, que l'on entend dès les premières mesures aux cuivres, et le motif de La Rédemption par l'amour, introduit par les bois dans un tempo contrasté d'andante dolce. On retrouvera cette dualité à tous les niveaux de la scénographie.

Relativement aux protagonistes, une nette opposition se manifeste également par les vêtements qu'ils portent : des couleurs chamarrées pour une partie des chœurs et du sombre uniforme pour les "passagers" du Hollandais. Cette même valeur sombre est présente sur les habits de Juha Uusitalo (le Hollandais) et ceux de Catherine Naglestad (Senta), associant ainsi visuellement leurs destins. Quant aux autres personnages, le capitaine et son second resteront obstinément en blanc, symbole de pureté antinomique eu égard à leur corruption.

La mise en scène de Sebastian Huber réinvente le livret traditionnel écrit par Wagner. L'opposition nette entre deux mondes socialement impénétrables de notre société actuelle et la quête obsessionnelle de passer de l'un à l'autre trouvera un écho judicieux dans l'actualité contemporaine la plus sordide intelligemment intégrée dans cette production. L'occupation spatiale du plateau, divisé en deux volumes, va dans ce sens : le premier plan, blanc et uni, s'oppose au second plan par un système de baies transparentes séparant comme un mur de verre les deux espaces. Deux mondes s'opposent, habités par deux sociétés tout aussi différentes. D'un côté les nantis, où dominent couleurs et lumière, de l'autre un univers plus inquiétant, peuplé de silhouettes sombres. À l'Acte II, une piscine occupera l'arrière-plan, d'où sortiront des femmes exclusivement préoccupées de leur bien-être et de leur apparence physique (chœur des fileuses). Pourtant, une scène violemment réaliste non prévue par le livret mais parfaitement cohérente avec la nouvelle dramaturgie proposée par Sebastian Huber se passera à l'endroit qu'elles viennent de quitter… En outre, la scène finale extrapolera également par rapport à l'original wagnérien, mais toujours en toute logique.

Le capitaine trouve en Robert Lloyd une bonne personnification : la basse britannique a l'âge du rôle, et sa voix, bien que légèrement colorée de vibrato, possède toujours de belles notes graves et une puissance confiante. Ce personnage miné par la corruption n'hésite pas à vendre sa fille, tenté par la vue des nombreuses grosses coupures d'euros que lui présente le Hollandais, dangereuse pente que suivra aussi son timonier. Face à lui, le ténor Olivier Ringelhahn a du mal à s'imposer dans ce rôle, et son timbre de voix peu wagnérien nous semble par trop léger mais toutefois correct. D'aucuns trouveront la voix en accord avec le personnage falot et peu fiable.

C'est durant l'Acte II qu'entre en scène Senta. La soprano américaine Catherine Naglestad excelle dans ce personnage sombre. Son timbre puissant et dramatique à la tenue de son parfaite est à mettre en opposition avec celui d'Erik, son fiancé. Le ténor Marco Jentzsch n'a rien d'héroïque et ne possède que partiellement l'organe et les couleurs dévolus à son personnage, davantage à l'aise dans le médium et le grave que dans des aigus atteints sans de réelles difficultés mais au détriment du coloris. Son importance sur scène lui laisse peu l'occasion de développer un personnage trompé, miné par la jalousie. Chasseur, il porte constamment un fusil, arme qui, si elle peut être perçue comme un attribut voyant de sa virilité en berne, aura une importance finale décisive.
La mezzo-soprano russe Marina Prudentskaja bénéficie de peu de temps sur scène pour nous convaincre, mais sa performance est assez explicite pour que l'on regrette une si courte présence. Ses allures de vamp hollywoodienne vulgaire tranchent délibérément avec la sombre Senta.
L'importance et la qualité des chœurs ne sont nullement à négliger dans Le Vaisseau fantôme, et leur chorégraphie explicite au début de chaque Acte joue un rôle actif qui s'inscrit toujours dans l'axe de cette nouvelle version.

L'opéra de Wagner repose en très grande partie sur le personnage du Hollandais. C'est lui qui cimentera la logique de l'action modernisée qui nous est proposée. Le baryton-basse finlandais Juha Uusitalo nous avait déjà totalement convaincu dans son Wotan du Ring de Valencia et son Jochanaan de Salomé au Metropolitan Opera. Il en impose tout autant dans Le Vaisseau fantôme. Les nombreux gros plans montrent un visage définitivement marqué par la punition de l'errance et de la quête mort-née d'un amour fidèle rédempteur. Une énorme puissance de souffle au service d'une écriture vocale parfois éprouvante : aucun doute, ce rôle est fait pour lui ! Sa stature physique très impressionnante représente en outre un atout supplémentaire eu égard à sa "profession" de passeur, et son expression inquiétante fait de lui un personnage ambigu dont a su tirer profit la modernisation de la dramaturgie.

Une partie des chœurs qui lui sont attachés ne symbolise pas ici son équipage comme dans le livret original. En effet, l'idée de base, nous l'avons dit, est l'opposition entre deux mondes. Usé par son statut, le Hollandais désire y mettre un terme. En effet, il doit sa richesse au droit de passage qu'il perçoit des pauvres hères dont les corps disparaissent sous les vêtements et les capuches, silhouettes que l'on voit rôder tout au long de l'opéra et dont l'unique désir est de franchir cette fameuse barrière de verre qui les sépare de l'autre monde. Cette idée prendra un tour saisissant à l'Acte III, lorsqu'on les retrouvera au premier plan, assis et prostrés au milieu de la nuit, alors que la fête bat son plein à l'arrière-plan, en pleine lumière. Le Hollandais fréquente tous les mondes et cherche sa place.

Hartmut Haenchen, très longtemps à la tête de l'Opéra et du Philharmonique de Hollande, conserve les tempi relevés dont il a l'habitude et un équilibre dont l'orchestre wagnérien ne peut que bénéficier. Les effets faciles de l'Ouverture sont ainsi évités et le respect de la puissance des chanteurs toujours préservé.

Richard Wagner reste sans doute le compositeur le plus délicat à mettre en scène. Revisiter de fond en comble une légende emprunte de propos philosophiques demande une certaine imagination pour être convaincant face à un public qui cherche maintenant bien souvent autre chose que du réalisme au premier degré. Avertissons toutefois les lecteurs de Tutti-magazine que cette actualisation ne saurait qu'être complémentaire d'une version de base traditionnelle.
Nicolas Mesnier-Nature
www.tutti-magazine.fr, 13. November 2011
Musicalmente, sin rayar a gran altura, la versión es digna.
En general, las voces quedan cortas pero cumplen con el debido empeño. Brilla el cora y tiene buen timbre la orquesta, conducida con brio y sentido de la narración. Dejo para el final la exepción: la soprano Naglestad, que resulta superlativa. Su voz es clara, pastosa, generosa de registros, en especial en el agudo, y la maneja con dominio de volúmenes, musicalidad, lirismo y una rica variedad de intenciones, que van desde el arrobamiento a la desesperación, desde la obstinada femineidad redentora a la calurosa femineidad apasionada.
Blas Matamore
Scherzo, 01. November 2011
Zur Begründung des Kritikerpreises:
"the Haenchen Holländer in a performance whose compelling drama is made possible via Haenchen’s incendiary conducting."
Fanfare Magazin, 01. November 2011
5 Sterne von 5 möglichen Sternen

In der Tat: Diese Senta „spinnt“. Inmitten stöckelschuhbewehrter Schickimickidamen am Wellness-Spa-Pool träumt sie schwarzgewandet wie eine vorgestrige Amish-Frau, am Spinnrad sich die Finger blutig spinnend, von einem entwurzelten, zu ewiger Rastlosigkeit verdammten „bleichen Mann“: Wer sich derart ernst und leidenschaftlich von seiner Oberflächen-Happiness-Umgebung abhebt wie diese Senta, der ist, gelinde gesagt, ein Außenseiter. Das gilt auch für ihren erträumten „Holländer“. Sehnsüchtig suchen beide nach einer besseren Welt, einer wirklichen Heimat – fern aller falschen Hollywood-Zivilisation bzw. Zweiklassen-Gesellschaft.
Kein Zweifel: Wir befinden uns auf einer Bühne Martin Kušejs (und Martin Zehetgrubers, seinem Bühnenbildner). Letztes Jahr gab der Tiefenpsychologe und politische Unruhestifter unter den heutigen Regiegrößen sein Wagner-Debüt in Amsterdam. Es wurde, wie am Mitschnitt minutiös nachzuerleben ist, ein in vielerlei Hinsicht denkwürdiges und aufwühlendes. Und natürlich eines, das alte Wagnerianer (die in Amsterdam, wie dem tobenden Schlussapplaus zu entnehmen ist, offenbar nur wenig vertreten sind) vergrätzen musste: (ausgerechnet in Holland!) kein Schiff, kein Meer (allenfalls in der schwarzweiß untermalten Ouvertüre), kein Hafen, keine Seemanns-Romantik, stattdessen ein steriler Transitraum mit doppelter Glastürfront, später mit Metallgittern, gestrandete, panische Kreuzfahrt-Touristen bzw. Baseballschläger-bewaffnete Fun-Menschen auf der knallbunten „Erste Welt“-Seite, dafür Kapuzen-Terroristen, zusammengepferchte Boat-People und Migranten aller Couleur auf der Elendsseite. „Misstrauen gegenüber der dünnen Kruste der Zivilisation“, „Störung unserer selbstgefälligen Ruhe“: Hier in Amsterdam durfte man fasziniert Zeuge werden von Kušejs Regie-Credo.
Und von dessen nahezu makelloser Umsetzung. Catherine Naglestad‘s Senta begann – gemäß Wagners Leidenschafts-Klimax – zunächst äußerst zerbrechlich, dann grandios aufleuchtend. Juha Uusitalo verkörperte geradezu exemplarisch den Titelhelden: raumfüllend und hochexpressiv sein Bariton, fesselnd seine Mimik, markant sein glatzköpfiger Schädel. Der Kontrast zu Daland (Robert Lloyd als weißbetuchter, stimmlich leider etwas brüchiger, neureicher Kuppler-Vater) war denkbar scharf. Marco Jentzschs tenoral strahlendem Erik oblag es nicht nur, den hoffnungslos Verliebten zu mimen, sondern auch Kušejs Plot umzusetzen und seinem Jäger-Beruf „gerecht“ zu werden: Er erschießt das Traumpaar! Wagners „Erlösung“ einmal anders. Wie auch immer man zu diesem Ein- bzw. Kunstgriff stehen mag: Dieser Amsterdamer „Holländer“ ist ein Meilenstein der Wagner-Diskographie. Nicht zuletzt dank einer überaus kompakten, kraftvollen Orchester- und Chorleistung, mit der sich Hartmut Haenchen als ein hochversierter Wagner-Dirigent empfiehlt.
Christoph Braun
Rondo, 17. September 2011
9 von 10 Punkten


Wagner's tale of the damned ghostly ship's captain in search of redemption and a final passage home has been given the 'updated' treatment by Martin Kušej, and up to point (actually up to the final moment of the opera itself) is surprisingly successful.

I'm not sure we are anywhere near the Norway Wagner imagined when the storm hits at the start, despite Daland saying he recognises the bay in which his ship has floundered. Well, when I say 'ship', it's more of a small cruise liner, or at least a private yacht that appears to have been hit by a Mediterranean / tropical storm a long way off from where the original story takes place. Daland himself is more of a dapper, well-dressed cruise-captain, and his crew are the sort of fun-loving partying types who you would normally cross the street to avoid (and there is a surprising amount of women on board as well!)
When the Dutchman's ship finally appears, the ghostly figures of what turn out to be the 'lost souls' of those seeking asylum gather outside the glass doors of the world from which they have been barred. The Dutchman is therefore transformed into a human trafficker whose legendary riches are made up of the money people pay in an attempt to take themselves to a better life and a new home…much like the Dutchman's original story.
The Dutchman and his 'crew' are suddenly very human, and this is shown quite graphically when three of them appear behind the dividing doors during Senta's aria in Act II, covered in blood, dying almost immediately. Erik, the hunter, and Senta's intended, has taken on the persona of an anti-immigration lunatic of the type with which we are now all-too-familiar.

The 'Spinning Chorus' that begins Act II, and which precedes the beginning of the killing, shows the women of the village (or wherever they are) dolling themselves up to make themselves as pretty as possible for the return of Daland's men (the women ‘passengers’ have mysteriously disappeared). Senta is the only one actually spinning, leaving at least one of the orginal Wagnerian concepts intact. The other girls taunt and tease her about her seemingly crazy ideas about finding her imaginary 'Dutchman' for whom she has longed almost all her life.
When Daland appears with the eponymous character himself, we are finally thrown back into the Wagnerian psychological maesltrom of two people meeting for the first time, yet who have dreamt about each other for years. Kušej's direction for this scene is at its most potent, and the most powerful in the production.

Act III sees the 'Norwegian' crew and their girls enjoying a disco before they all leave port again, except this time they are themselves behind the screen with the 'Dutchmen' at front of stage, representing the real world of pain, loneliness and not-belonging (well, this is my take on it anyway). The Western ideals of partying and general hedonism are remote and trivial to those who have nothing.
The final scene presents the Dutchman and Senta having to make their minds up. Senta has yearned for this moment, as it will take her away from the bourgeois, petty lifestyle to which she is destined, yet the Dutchman has decided that she cannot be part of his operation, as he sees her proposed attachment to Erik as a deception.
As in Wagner's original perception, both the Dutchman and Senta find their own redemption in death, although probably not in the way it's dealt with here, in that Erik shoots them both. Oh well, at least we get through a very commendable version before this point.

Sound and Vision

Very impressive. There are only one or two moments where the balance favours the pit, most notably at the end of Act II when the two male leads are hard to hear, but overall it's a great recording.
Visually, the production is stark in its treatment of light and dark, and this is carried across quite dramatically for the DVD. The advantage of adding super-imposed video elements is used to great effect for the overture, and there are some very close close-ups of the orchestra which hopefully didn't get in the way of things.


A c.22 minute 'Inisights and Interviews' item, which is quite watchable and in which even Robert Lloyd, who is one of the most experienced Wagner singers around, admits that the production will be found "very challenging" by traditional Wagnerians.


The most successful, and attractive aspect of this production is the musical direction of Hartmut Haenchen.
The overture is as exciting as you would want, and despite certain sections being perhaps more leisurely than I would have hoped (I’m probably spoilt by many concert performances of course), Haenchen’s pacing of the whole work is exemplary and the stamina of the Netherlands Phil., let alone their playing, is astounding. There’s a slightly wobbly quiet low trumpet in one moment, but I can forgive that.

On stage, we are very lucky indeed to have an ensemble without a weak link in sight. You may prefer a different type of voice for different roles, such as perhaps that of Mary (Marina Prudenskaja), who is less like Senta’s nurse and more like a rival, with a young, powerful voice to match. I quite enjoyed the change.

Oliver Ringelhahn’s carries off the Steersman’s frighteningly difficult early song with far more confidence than many, yet his character is spoiled somewhat by the directorial instruction to steal a shiny gold jacket off a ship’s entertainer before beginning.

Erik, as I have mentioned, does not invoke a lot of sympathy in this production, yet Marco Jentzsch’s voice transcends the inherent evil implied in his characterisation on stage, and so if you weren’t watching you would feel this is one of the best you have heard in the role.

Robert Lloyd was supposed to have given up this sort of thing a good few years before this was recorded (according to himself), but you can’t help feeling his decision to return to roles such as Daland was a wise one. Weeks short of his 70th birthday, his voice still has the power to grab your attention, and it’s always good to see him in his element.

The partnership of Catherine Naglestad as Senta and Juha Uusitalo as the Dutchman is inspired. Naglestad’s voice is perhaps more familiar singing earlier music, yet here, the purity of her tone shines through, and she rarely has problems in projecting over the huge orchestral forces. Juha Uusitalo’s Dutchman simmers menacingly under his large frame, and has a voice quite capable of shaking the room where necessary. There are moments earlier on when some of his top notes are a little shaky, and his delivery sometimes means the notes are sacrificed for a more declamatory tone, but there’s no denying he’s one of the more successful Dutchmen in recent years.

When the two are on stage together, there’s no contact between them but everything that is unsaid can be seen in their eyes and body language, the subtlety of which could have been lost in a large auditorium.

So, apart from the very annoying ending, this is actually a new production that is able to make valid comments about ideas and ideals that resonate in today’s society, and is well-worth watching.
http://www.myreviewer.com, 14. September 2011
OPERNWELT, Heft 9/10 2011, Seite 48

Anregend, ausgewogen, aufregend

...Jetzt kann man diese in mancher Hinsicht aufwühlende, streitbare, aber nie oberflächliche Produktion auf DVD anschauen. ... Hartmut Haenchen und dem Niederländischen Philharmonischen Orchester gebührt uneingeschränktes Lob. Großer Sturm und feine Nuance - alles ist da, leidenschaftlich, aber nie dick aufgetragen, immer entschlackt und verständlich. Wagner wird hier nicht krampfhaft historisiert, sondern als Wegweiser in die Zukunft porträtiert. ... Alles in allem: ein "Holländer" von starker, von verstörender Wirkung."
Christoph Vratz
Opernwelt, 01. September 2011
http://www.classicstoday.com, 16.8.2011
Artistic Quality 9/ 10 Sound Quality

Director Martin Kusej has been responsible for one of the worst Don Giovannis I've ever seen (Salzburg, 2006--Decca DVD) and the best Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (BBC--Opus Arte), so I wondered what to expect from this Netherlands Opera Dutchman, recorded in February, 2010. As it turns out, it is indeed "controversial"--it takes startling liberties and doesn't always make sense--but it's a very strong performance.

But before I get into its look and dramatic execution I must give utmost praise to conductor Hartmut Haenchen, who offers a whip-smart account of the score in the original one-act version, taking just two hours and 15 minutes. It never feels rushed but it does feel inexorable, with the orchestra playing with amazing transparency: you can hear Wagner's genius creating and growing. I don't want to call it a chamber-like approach because it is anything but delicate and miniaturized, but each instrumental section gets its due and is crystal clear; the balance between stage and pit is invariably right (bravo to the engineers as well), and somehow Haenchen manages Wagner's awkward mood/tempo changes as if they were organic.

The second act, with Erik popping in all hot and bothered, and then later, Daland, after the big duet, is normally clumsily done; here drama remains heightened. The chorus also is remarkably handled, particularly given what they have to do physically.

I can understand people despising Kusej's approach, but the care he gives to the characterizations somehow makes up for the overall approach which, as suggested above, is quirky. We are on a cruise ship, all glass doors and a deck, in modern dress. (The roomy, wall-to-wall set is by Martin Zehetsgruber and costumes are by Heide Kastler). The tourists, in true tourist outfits (floral shirts, shorts, sunglasses) are terrified of what is on the other side of the glass doors: it is the Dutchman's crew, who appear to be zombies. Well, maybe not zombies, but undesirables--like refugees from one of those unhappy countries who are being ferried to more stable places, each person with a look of desperation on his or her face. Perhaps they are asylum seekers, looking for a homeland, with a doomed captain looking for redemption and love.

The Dutchman suddenly appears--perhaps he's been lying down amid the guests--to sing "Die Frist ist um". When Daland arrives, he's a spiffily dressed tycoon and is interested in business--money changes everyone's status and the Dutchman realizes that. The second scene is set in a women's spa, with everyone except Senta in bathing suits or towels; she is in a black dress, actually has an old-fashioned spinning wheel (what is it doing in a spa?) and stares at a smallish painting of the sea and sky. (Sea and sky are projected throughout the overture as well.)

The last scene, after the weird back-and-forth of the sailors (in black, monkish, hooded clothing) and ladies, is stunning in its severity--just Senta, the Dutchman, and Erik against a background of roiling sea and sky. Senta has become part of her idealized picture. Will she remain true to the Dutchman until death? Apparently, since the shotgun-bearing Erik shoots them both dead at the curtain. Applicable or not--and each may decide for him/herself--this is a very good-looking, action-packed, thought-provoking show.

All of this would be for close to naught if the singing and dramatic commitment were any less fine than they are. Juha Uusitalo has found his ideal role in the Dutchman. His voice is big, with a distinct grain. It is not particularly beautiful but it is highly expressive, and if you think you've seen brooding, wait until you see him. His duet with Senta in Act 2 is so fraught with tension, attraction, disbelief, shock, relief, and sheer craziness that it could leave you trembling. He may be the finest Dutchman I've ever encountered.

Catherine Naglestad's Senta, almost perfectly sung, matches Uusitalo. She's clearly playing with less than a full deck from the start, but she gets stronger as the opera progresses and her vision becomes clearer and more real. I believe she sings Senta's ballad a half-tone higher than usual, which was Wagner's original conception, and the voice gleams. It is an ideally built sound, from the solid middle both up and down, and it's filled with warmth.

Tenor Marco Jentzsch, obviously a plot linchpin in Kusej's worldview of this opera, is active, involved, and sings with ringing if not always appealing tone, particularly above the staff. But he comes across as he should here, as a major player rather than an also-ran in Senta's life. Robert Lloyd proves that he still has the resources for Daland, and his mercenary outlook is in keeping with the text. There have been many better Steersmen than Olivier Ringelhahn, but Marina Prudenskaja's Mary is more appealing than most. Does she run the spa?

Picture, sound, and all production values are stunning, although there is no track-listing in the accompanying booklet (this seems to be a trend that is to be discouraged). There are three other performances of this opera on DVD; none is nearly as good as this one but Kultur's, from the Savonlinna Opera Festival (with Behrens and Grundheber) is extremely well sung. Subtitles are in English, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch. This may be odd, but it is not to be dismissed under any circumstances. It packs quite a wallop.
Robert Levine
http://www.classictoday.com, 16. August 2011
TIPP: EIne Wucht" 5 Sterne

... Catherine Naglestad erweist sich als Idealbesetzung, mit glänzender Stimme und ebensolchem Aussehen, eine melancholische Figur fast wie aus dem Strindberg'schen Theaterkosmos. Juha Uusitalo ist ihr ebenbürtig, ein Holländer mit markiger, imponierender Stimme, und beide können sie ihren Wagner, wo es dieser vorsah, auch piano singen. Das Duett im zweiten Akt wird so zum magischen Höhepunkt dieser magistralen Inszenierung. Hartmut Haenchen dirigiert einen sehr dramatischen, gleichsam von allem romantischen Ballast entschlackten Wagner. Unter seiner subtilen Leitung strotzen Orchester und Chor vor Kraft, und dennoch bleibt die Dynamik differenziert und lassen sich die motivischen Konturen dieser Musik jederzeit hörend nachvollziehen.
Werner Pfister
FONOFORUM, 01. August 2011
Aufgewühltes Meer unter bleiernem Himmel

Ein packender "Holländer" aus Amsterdam auf DVD - in der Regie von Martin Kusej mit Hartmut Haenchen am Pult

Es ist der spannendste "Holländer" - zumindest auf DVD - seit Harry Kupfers legendärer Bayreuther Deutung von 1978: Martin Kusej hat in Amsterdam Wagners Frühwerk radikal ins Heute geholt ohne die zeitlose Tragödie zu verraten, Hartmut Haenchen ließ die Musik zum Krimi gerinnen und Joost Honselaar machte daraus für Opus Arte einen packenden Film.

Schon der Beginn irritiert und fasziniert: Wie nach einem Tsunami oder einer Havarie rennen bunt gekleidete Touristen in Panik über die Bühne. Daland (immer noch stimmgewaltig: der 70-jährige Robert Lloyd) scheint der Kapitän eines Kreuzfahrtschiffes zu sein. Zum Auftritt des schwarzgekleideten Holländers (Juha Uusitalo) erstarrt die Menge. Auch Senta (Catherine Naglestad) trägt einen langen, schwarzen, weich fließenden Mantel und ist hier genauso geheimnisumwitterte Tragödin wie der Holländer. Sie spinnt inmitten aufgetakelter Damen in der Beauty-Farm als einzige realistisch, während ihre Geschlechtsgenossinnen sich in den neuesten Zeitschriften-Klatsch vertiefen. Wenn Senta die Ballade singt, besetzt die Mannschaft des Holländers - ebenfalls ganz in Schwarz, von Kapuzen verhüllt - das Schwimmbad - im rückwärtigen Teil der Bühne, abgeteilt durch unzählige Glastüren. Ihre Hände sind aufgerissen, einige sterben blutüberströmt, gestrandet sozusagen im Pool. Gruselig durchleuchtet hier der Regisseur den dramatischen Inhalt der Ballade, der von den stürmischen Seefahrten des Holländers und seiner Mannschaft erzählt ("Hui! Wie saust der Wind! Johohe! Hojohe!"), bei denen in Ku?ejs Deutung nur der Holländer nie den Tod finden kann.

Auch im dritten Akt verschärft Kusej den Kontrast von vorne kauernden schwarzen Holländer-Lemuren und der grellen, tanzwütigen Partygesellschaft hinter den Glastüren, alle aus dem Off singend. Am Ende wird Sentas Bild, das ein aufgewühltes Meer unter bleiernem Himmel zeigt, bühnenfüllend, der Jäger Erik (viril und mit dem Mut der Verzweiflung: Marco Jentzsch) erschießt mit seiner Flinte erst den Holländer, dann seine Geliebte. Doch da Hartmut Haenchen sich für die späte Fassung mit musikalischem Erlösungsschluss entschieden hat, wird die Bühne nicht nur optisch in hellblaues Hoffnungslicht getaucht.

Selten hat man einen "Holländer" so plastisch und spannend ausmusiziert in Dynamik und instrumentalen Details gehört wie hier mit dem Nederlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Furchteinflößend und doch anrührend gestaltet Uusitalo die Titelpartie, während Catherine Naglestad zugleich verletzlich und überlegen wie eine antike Tragödin spielt. Dabei singt sie ebenso schlank, differenziert wie intensiv und "umschifft" geschickt die Klippen, die diese Partie selbst für dramatischere Soprane so gefährlich macht.

Klaus Kalchschmid
http://www.klassikinfo.de, 12. Juli 2011
Ondertussen blijkt bij herbeluistering via de dvd de muzikale kant wederom een absolute voltreffer. Spil van het gebeuren is vanaf het eerste moment het Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest onder Hartmut Haenchen, die zijn Wagner-cyclus completeert met een bevlogen weergave van door hemzelf bevochten muzikaal materiaal. Hij gaat daarbij uit van de laatste partituurversie, maar grijpt terug op de oorspronkelijke opzet in één bedrijf met ook de oorspronkelijke toonsoort van Senta's ballade. Het NedPhO speelt voor hem werkelijk op het scherp van de snede en met zo'n overweldigende klankrijkdom, dat het toneelbeeld dan eigenlijk niet meer zo belangrijk is. Opera is drama, maar bij zoveel muzikale dramatiek gaan alle scenische vernieuwingen toch echt een ondergeschikte rol spelen.
Paul Korenhof
www.opusklassiek.nl, 01. Juli 2011
Bass Robert Lloyd, who sings Daland in this Netherlands Opera production of Der fliegende Holländer, allows that “traditional Wagnerians will find it quite challenging.” Probably, many will. The time is the present day, or close to it, and instead of a Norwegian commercial vessel heading for home in Scandinavia, Daland commands a luxury yacht cruising a warmer part of the world. The Dutchman’s crew may be outlaws, of the Somali pirate sort. The staging is provocative and hyper-dramatic, growing in extremity until an over-the-top conclusion: Erik, who has already slaughtered a few of the Dutchman’s crew, fires two rounds from his double-barreled shotgun to assure that Senta and the Dutchman are indeed united in death.
It’s extreme, all right: Wagner as verissmo, or at least as Verdi. Still, the essence of Wagner’s “Romantic Opera in three acts” has been preserved. The two protagonists recognize their profound isolation, differentness, and need for release—“redemption” in the case of the Dutchman and for Senta, tormented by a movie-queen Mary, escape from the intolerable circumstances of her daily existence. The excellent cast is fully committed to stage director Martin Kušej’s concept and delivers consistently musically satisfying performnaces. Lloyd represents Daland as a proto-Gunther kind of fop, rather than the bluff and unsophisticated sea captain we’ve come to expect. California-born Catherine Naglestad sings Senta with an intensity that manifests just how desparately she wants to escape her current life, surrounded by sneering, preening females. Juha Uusitalo, a commanding Wotan/Wanderer in the nonpareil Valencia Ring, shapes his longer speeches with a sure lyrical instinct. For the radically reimagined role of Erik, Marco Jentzsch creates a menacing presence with his assertive Heldentenor instrument. (Other Wagnerian roles of his include Lohengrin, Walther, and Froh.) Jentzsch’s recounting of Erik’s dream in the final act is pretty scary.
Hartmut Haenchen must be considered a leading contemporary Wagner interpreter, with two complete Ring cycles on disc with the Netherlands Opera—one on DVD, the other on SACD—and he leads a performance that presses ahead effectively. Incorporated are the pretty-much standard alterations the composer made to the score after the 1843 Dresden premiere up until 1860 Paris performances (when, for example, a Tristanesque harp was added at the very end). Haenchen is an enthusiastic advocate of Kušej’s “pioneering vision.” Richard Wagner, the conductor observes, “was hardly ever content with anything. It shows that we, as interpreters, have the right to go further, to get everything out of his masterpieces that we can.” The Netherland Philharmonic Orchestra’s playing is top-notch and the choral work unassailable. Opus Arte’s high-resolution sound is quite good, both the stereo and 5.1 DTS HD-Master Audio options. Subtitles are offered in English, French, German, Spanish, and Dutch.
With this release, all 10 of Wagner’s mature stage works—plus Rienzi—are now available on Blu-ray, a mere three years after operas first appeared in the format. Given the unending popularity and seemingly endless interpretive possibilities of this music—as well as their responsiveness to the most advanced AV technology—I’m not the least bit surprised.
Andrew Quint
Fanfare Magazin, 01. Juli 2011
International Record Review, Juli/August 2011

“I must give utmost praise to conductor Hartmut Haenchen, who offers a whip-smart account of the score...It never feels rushed but it does feel inexorable, with the orchestra playing with amazing transparency: one can hear Wagner's genius creating and growing....Haenchen manages Wagner's awkward mood/tempo changes as if they were organic...Uusitalo has found his ideal role in the Dutchman...He may be the finest Dutchman I've ever encountered.”
International Record Review, 01. Juli 2011
The story of the Flying Dutchman is one of constant searching. He is doomed to spend eternity looking for redemption, for love, for a home, for belonging. Director Martin Kušej chooses to represent this story through the very contemporary but somewhat clunky metaphor of displaced people seeking a home in the West. In Kušej’s vision it is asylum seekers and refugees who most closely resemble the Dutchman’s quest, hence the Dutchman is a fixer who organises transport for these unfortunates, and his crew are black-hooded immigrants seeking to get ashore safely. The set, consisting of a mostly bare stage with a row of glass doors at the back, suggests a zone at the front for the “haves” (Daland, his crew and his family) and a zone at the back of the stage, beyond the glass doors for the “have nots”, the Dutchman’s crew of hoodies. Then, surprisingly, the situation is reversed for the final act when the Dutchman’s crew sit impassively huddled together at the front of the stage while the hedonistic westerners cavort and frolic behind a wire mesh. I guess there’s nothing wrong with it as an idea, but my main problem was that I found it fundamentally very reductive. Gone is the grandeur and passion of the Dutchman’s tragedy: instead he is reduced to a slightly tawdry international trafficker whose “death” at the end (I won’t spoil it) didn’t move me or evoke much sympathy.

More effective was the treatment of the Westerners - it seems wrong, in the context of this production, to call them Norwegians - as superficial, shallow pleasure-seekers. Daland seems to be the captain of a cruise-ship whose disgruntled passengers have become the victim of some very heavy turbulence. The Steersman pinches the glittering jacket of one of the cabaret singers when it comes to his aria in Act 1, suggesting his love of performing. Act 2 seems to be set in a health spa, complete with swimming pool, populated by bored rich ladies and WAGs in trashy costumes. Only Senta, dressed in black, stands out from the crowd and represents traditional values by carrying on her spinning, and she is ridiculed by all the others for doing so.

While the production may have holes, the singing is more than enough to carry them. The towering Dutchman of Uusitalo is outstanding. He is one of a very small number of baritones in the world today who can really make this role come off. His voice has undeniable strength and power - just listen to his revelation of his identity in Act 3 - but it is suffused with humanity throughout, its softer edge reinforcing the character’s sympathy. His great Act 1 monologue is powerful and effecting, but also deeply moving and sympathetic. Catherine Nagelstad is perhaps a surprising choice for Wagner, but her singing as Senta is a revelation. She is a wonderfully convincing dramatic soprano, and her entire interpretation builds to the climax of her final phrases in Act 3 (sung with razor-sharp precision) but her voice never becomes too steely and, like Uusitalo, hers is a character with whom the viewer can sympathise. She sings the Act 2 narrative with dramatic lyricism and the moment when she accepts the Dutchman’s proposal is thrilling. For the contribution of these two, the extended duet at the end of the second act is the highlight of the set.

In 2004 I attended a performance at the Royal Opera House which was supposed to signal Robert Lloyd’s retirement from major roles. He has clearly changed his mind as he is singing now as well as he has ever done. His Daland is strong vigorous, and even quite funny in places. Lloyd never shirks the idea that Daland is in it for the money, as his interactions with Senta and the Dutchman in Act 2 confirm, but this seems to bring more wry humour than censure. He is also a little foppish in Act 1 as the entertainment on his cruise ship goes awry, but his singing treads the line between drama and levity very well, and his sunglasses are a nice touch! Marco Jentzsch prowls around the stage like a wild animal, suggesting an element of danger to Erik, a character normally seen as a bit of a drip, though his singing has a rough edge and lacks the lyricism of his colleagues. Mary’s plummy voice sticks out a little, but the Steersman is ardent and compelling, though his humour perhaps irks a little.

Hartmut Haenchen’s pacing of the score is just right, conducting the storm scenes like psychological thrillers, while allowing the great dialogues to unfold with a clear sense of drama, and the orchestra’s playing is excellent. The choral singing is fantastic too, and they have a great time bounding around the stage in their various guises. The sound and picture quality is up to Opus Arte’s usual excellent standards and, another feature we have come to expect and enjoy from them, the staging has been very effectively re-imagined for a video audience. The waves of the sea sweep up over the title menus and the prelude is played to the backdrop of a surging storm scene. Furthermore, during the transitions the shots of the orchestra are in black and white to reinforce how separate they are from the bright, colourful vision of what is happening on stage. There is also a short (c. 20 minute) extra feature featuring interviews with the cast and staging team, which is very interesting and worth the time to view.

I enjoyed this film very much, mainly for the singing rather than the staging, though if I wanted to introduce the Dutchman to a new audience, I think I’d still point them to Harry Kupfer’s 1985 Bayreuth staging, available on Deutsche Grammophon, still with the power to astonish 25 years later.

Simon Thompson
www.musicweb-international.com, 01. Juli 2011

Schon die Ouvertüre lässt aufhorchen. Da klingt nichts überpointiert oder pathetisch. Kein romantisches Raunen ist zu hören, keine maritime Folkloristik, stattdessen frisches, federndes, oft überraschend schlankes, stets nach vorne drängendes Musizieren. Hartmut Haenchen, unstrittig einer der wenigen großen Wagner-Dirigenten unserer Zeit, lässt mit seinem fantastischen Orchester den frühen Wagner förmlich aus der deutschen Opern- und Singspieltradition herauswachsen. 'Freischütz' und 'Fidelio' sind da zu ahnen, Marschner und Spohr, selbst Mozart und Rossini grüßen aus der Ferne. Auf der anderen Seite lässt Haenchen keinen Zweifel daran, wie sehr bereits der 'Holländer' auf die musikalische Moderne verweist, wie namentlich die Passagen der Titelfigur bereits ein Verlassen der Tonalität ahnen lassen. Diese Auffassung von Wagners Musik ist natürlich keinesfalls neu, ist aber auf Ton- und Bildträgern bisher kaum in dieser Konsequenz und Qualität zu erleben gewesen.
Am eindringlichsten gelingt das Herausmodellieren dieser Diskrepanz in der großen Chorszene zu Beginn des dritten Aktes. Hier leistet der Chor der Nederlandse Opera vor allem im subtilen Umgang mit Klangfarben Erstaunliches. Der Regisseur Martin Kusej stützt hier explizit die musikalische Interpretation, indem er die Besatzung des Holländerschiffes auf die Vorderbühne holt. Überhaupt scheint der Ansatz des Dirigenten die szenische Realisierung beeinflusst zu haben, was absolut positiv zu vermerken ist.
Touristen und Heimatlose
Martin Zehetgruber hat quer über die weiß ausgeschlagene Bühne eine Wand aus Glastüren gebaut, einen Raum- und Weltenteiler. Daland ist hier der Kapitän eines Kreuzfahrtschiffes. Besatzung und Touristen kommen zu Beginn durch die Glastüren nach vorne, in Schwimmwesten und individueller Freizeitkleidung. Die Mannschaft des Holländers dagegen ist schwarz gekleidet. Unter den Kapuzen sind keinerlei Gesichter auszumachen. Sie haben keine Heimat, keine Identität. Sie dürfen nicht hinein. Einzig der glatzköpfige Holländer ist eine Art Zwischenexistenz, durch sein individuelles Schicksal ein verzweifelt eine äußere Heimat suchender Wanderer zwischen den Welten.
Auch Senta ist schwarz gekleidet. Unter jungen hübschen, modisch zurechtgemachten Frauen sitzt sie als einzige tatsächlich am Spinnrad. Die Heimat, von der sie träumt, ist eine andere, innere. Sie möchte nirgendwo ankommen, sie möchte aufbrechen. So könnte ihre Beziehung mit dem Holländer vermutlich auch dann kaum funktionieren, wenn nicht der eifersüchtige, tumbe Jäger Erik mit seinem Schießgewehr die Angelegenheit endgültig beilegte. Die psychologisierende Ausdeutung des Regisseurs Kusej mag etwas weit hergeholt sein, ist aber über weite Strecken konsequent umgesetzt und wird durch eine stringente und detaillierte Personenführung beglaubigt. An einigen Stellen wäre etwas weniger Parallelaktion vielleicht mehr gewesen.
Die Aufführung findet sängerisch auf sehr hohem Niveau statt. Juha Uusitalo verfügt über eine starke, unheimliche Ausstrahlung und einen mächtigen, legatofähigen Charakterbariton, den er auch, vor allem im Duett mit Senta, klangvoll ins Piano zurücknehmen kann. Der Senta Catherine Naglestads fehlt es an dramatischem Fundament für die Partie. Sie gleicht dieses Defizit aber durch eine wunderbar fokussierte, leuchtende Höhe und vor allem intensives Spiel aus, was die Bildregie mit vielen Großaufnahmen ihres Gesichtes produktiv nutzt.
Weniger gut ist es um den Erik von Simon Jentzsch bestellt. Er hat eigentlich eine recht schöne, lyrische Stimme, aber die Höhe wirkt schmal, und ein baritonales Fundament ist überhaupt nicht zu hören. Vor allem in der Traumerzählung flüchtet er sich in den tief liegenden Passagen in eine Art Sprechgesang. Wohl um diese Probleme zu kaschieren singt er – technisch wie emotional – mit gewaltigem Überdruck. Da macht der Steuermann von Oliver Ringelhahn, der sein Lied als unterhaltende Touristenberuhigung exekutieren darf, einen weit besseren Eindruck, vor allem mit schöner, natürlich strömender Mittellage. Robert Lloyd verfügt nicht mehr über die stimmliche Autorität früherer Jahre, aber sein Daland besticht nach wie vor durch Bühnenpräsenz, Textverständlichkeit und Musikalität. Ein weiteres kleines Glanzlicht kommt von der entspannt singenden, sinnlich klingenden Maria Prudenskaja als Mary.
Ganz hervorragend ist die Bildregie von Jost Honselaar. In Ouvertüre und Zwischenakten lädt er zu konzentriertem Zuhören ein, indem er Dirigent und Musiker unter fast völligem Verzicht auf Totalen in Schwarzweiß filmt. Klanglich ist die DVD sehr solide ausbalanciert, vor allem im Verhältnis Sänger-Orchester. Das Booklet ist mit vielen gut reproduzierten Szenenfotos ausgestattet. Zusätzlich enthält die DVD ein vor allem informatives Making Off. So kann dieser 'Holländer', neben dem Münchner Film aus den 70er Jahren und der Bayreuther Kupfer-Produktion die einzige aktuell erhältliche DVD-Aufnahme des Werkes, als neue Referenzaufnahme gelten.
Andreas Falentin
www.klassik.com, 27. Juni 2011
Bienvenido verano, bienvenida ópera en DVD

... En las antípodas, El holandés errante por el enfant terrible Martin Kusej desde la Opera de Amsterdam fascina, irrita y subleva pero jamás deja indiferente. La acción ha sido cambiada a un crucero de lujo, no hay hilanderas sino un spa con piscina y todo, y sus pasajeros, durante una tempestad, confrontan a un ferry fantasma con una tripulación de parias y desterrados buscando asilo en el primer mundo, al que sugestivas puertas de cristal no los dejan acceder. Escapando de sus mundos respectivos el Holandés -sólido Juha Uusitalo- y Senta -una extraordinaria Catherine Naglestad- hallan la esperanza el uno en el otro siendo además, el único nexo entre ambas realidades. Es el alienado Eric -su prometido- el eje y disparador (literal) de la tragedia en un final insólito pero efectivo. El veteranísimo Robert Lloyd compone un Daland de ribetes únicos. Magnífica la dirección de Hartmut Haenchen en un solo, espaciado y detalladísimo, acto que árido e inhóspito visualmente alterna con momentos de deslumbrante belleza. Una versión que no admite términos medios: se ama o se odia.
Sebastian Spreng
El Nuevo Herald, 20. Juni 2011
5 out of 5 stars
At last a modern Hollander

At last a modern "Fliegende Holländer", conducted by that master conductor Haenchen, with the Netherlands Phil orchestra. He of the Dutch Ring fame, which uses the notes Wagner made during the 1876 first Ring. The tempi in this opera is swift which brings the emotion to the fore. Slow conducting is the death of opera. The staging is modern. Myth for today, not yesterday, or in the good old days. I like the ending when the tenor shoots both Senta and the Dutchman. A nice touch. The singers, Catherine Naglestad as Senta, Robert Lloyd, as Daland (He has been going for ages), Erik, Marco Jentzsch, the Dutchman, Juha Uusitalo are all good. (he is Wotan in the Valencia Ring). The other parts are well sung. The choir is a credit to the opera. I do not think the traditionalists will like the staging of this opera.So do not complain if you buy it, you have been warned.
www.amazon.com, 20. Juni 2011
This brilliant, occasionally terrifying production of Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer comes, appropriately enough, from the Netherlands Opera. It is conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, who led an interesting Dutch DVD set of The Ring a few years ago. In fact it's really good until it sinks (with all hands) in the final scene.

Things start promisingly. Director Martin Kusej moves the action to a cruise ship, perhaps somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. Daland is a "Love Boat"captain in naval whites and mirror shades. The Steersman puts on a gold lamé jacket before singing. Daland's crew and the Sandwyk villagers are re-imagined as vulgar tourists, scurrying about in life vests, carrying suitcases, bathing poolside, and wearing "party wigs" in the final act. The Dutchman's crew are strange and shadowy, monk-like in dark cowls.

In the middle of all this we find the Dutchman, played with intensity by Finnish bass Juha Uusitalo. Mr. Uusitalo is a hulking, intimidating presence, under a bald pate and glaring through ice-blue eyes. It doesn't hurt that he has a voice to match, billowing and blustery when needed and bringing the power when needed to fight over the orchestra. He is in the position of a refugee seeking asylum, but is treated as an unwelcome intrusion of reality into the insulated world of Captain Daland's cruise ship.

Senta (Catherine Naglestad) is his ideal match, the one serious (old-fashioned?) woman on a ship full of frivolity. It is significant that she is the only one spinning in the second act. The other girls bully her and try to play "keep-away" with her wheel. The soprano sings with power, delivering a fine ballad and engaging in a powerful duet with Mr. Uusitalo helped by the conductor's crisp tempos. Their love affair is like the meeting of two high school nerds with limited social interactive ability. The big duet in Act II is both delicious and painful to watch.

Things come to a head in the Act III trio, with Marco Jentsch making a marginally sympathetic figure out of Erik. In a brilliant moment, this ensemble is performed with Mr. Uusuitalo onstage, and his emotional reactions at the dialogue between Senta and Erik is visceral, almost painful to watch. The trio that follows is everything it should be, the emotional core of the drama and Senta's conflict laid bare even as Wagner's orchestra batters at the senses. However, the unbelievable, altered ending (Erik shoots the Dutchman and Senta dead) kills the final act and leaves a sour taste.

Hartmut Haenchen opts for an energetic reading of the score, with the famous salt-spray figures and charging horns prominent in the famous overture. He takes the three acts without an intermission, but opts for Wagner's revised "redemption" music, both at the end of the Overture and the finale of the third act. The choral singing (all-important in this opera is tight and snappy, leading to a virtuoso moment in the third act when the two worlds collide. If it weren't for that ending, this Dutchman would be highly recommended.
Paul Pelonen
http://super-conductor.blogspot.com, 16. Juni 2011
... Und das ist schlicht der beste "Holländer" den ich kenne. Die Regie ist kühn, aber nirgends gegen das Werk gerichtet - sogar der Sturm findet statt, und zwar so intensiv, daß man meint, man hätte selbst nasse Sachen am Leib. Musikalisch ist die Aufführung schlicht perfekt - vor allem Haenchens Dirigat fällt auf: Wie er einzelne Details völlig neu und ungewöhnlich gestaltet, ist eine tatsächlich neue Sicht auf dieses Werk - und eine faszinierende obendrein.
www.capriccio-kulturforum.de, 14. Juni 2011

Als De Nederlandse Opera er op uit is om verdeeldheid te zaaien dan was Der fliegende Holländer in de regie van e Oostenrijker Martin Kušej een schot in de roos. De commentaren varieerden van een ‘pionering vision’ tot de ‘flop van het seizoen’ en een tussenweg was nauwelijks mogelijk. Logisch. Kušej vertaalde de thematiek van Wagners vierde opera naar het hier en nu met cruiseschepen, luxueuze spa’s en de Holländer en consorten als een slag dreigende bootvluchtelingen. Hoewel Kušej dicht bij Wagners thematiek van enerzijds de zoektocht naar een thuis en anderzijds de ontsnapping aan de geborgenheid van de familie blijft, veroorloofde hij zich in zijn vertaling naar het hier en nu vrijheden die niet overal in goede aarde vielen. Maar of je nu van zijn interpretatie houdt of niet, de kwaliteit van de dvd-opname van de uitvoeringen van februari 2010 in Het Muziektheater is onberispelijk. Vanaf de meesterlijke ouverture tot het dramatische slot is het wat de kwaliteit van beeld en geluid (zowel stereo als surround) betreft louter genieten. Dat heeft ook alles te maken met het grootste pluspunt van deze productie. Hartmut Haenchen, voor het eerst sinds drie jaar weer terug in de bak, leidt het NedPhO naar briljante hoogten en ook de stemmen van onder anderen Juha Uusitalo (Der Holländer) en Catherine Naglstad (Senta) zijn een waar genot.
Paul Janssen
www.klassiekezaken.nl, 11. Juni 2011
Going Dutch

Strong singing and acting by most of its principals and a taut dramatic arc make this Netherlands Opera performance of Die fliegende Holländer one of the best releases in Opus Arte’s expanding Blu-ray/DVD catalogue of Wagner’s works.
Director Martin Kušej and set designer Martin Zehetgruber’s sleek, contemporary interpretation transcends a lot of pitfalls that mar many contemporary régie stagings.
And the two leads, bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo (the Dutchman) and soprano Catherine Naglestad (Senta), deliver career-defining performances in this Dutch production, filmed during two live performances in February 2010.

Uusitalo is a variable singer but he sings powerfully whilst communicating his character’s anxiety and yearning for redemption. When he mistakenly believes Senta has betrayed him, Uusitalo’s anguish is captured in camera close-ups. Certainly Uusitalo is a more compelling Dutchman than he was in Wotan in Valencia’s recently released La Fura del Bas Ring cycle. The Nederlandse Opera’s white unit set provides a much more intimate setting for Uusitalo to develop his character.

Scintillating Senta

Naglestad is an appealing, intense Senta. She conveys the character’s fierce independence and yearning to escape her nouveau-riche environment. While Naglestad does not possess the blazing upper register of her forebear, Leonie Rysanek, Nagelstad’s kinetic stage presence evokes Rysanek’s scorching assumption of Senta decades ago.
Though she wears an almost funeral, floor-length black dress throughout the production, Naglestad’s character seems more a 21st-century liberated woman than a delusional, self-sacrificing romantic heroine.

Mary and the women chorus in Act II are clad in garish contemporary outfits and the bar-hopping clothes the festive party goers wear during Act III contrast with the somber outfits worn by Senta, the Dutchman and the Dutchman’s crew, which in this production are a group of hooded dark-skinned immigrants (and one of the production’s few miscalculations).

Tenor Marco Jentzsch (Erik) and mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaja (Mary) are much more vivid secondary characters than one usually experiences in performances of this opera. Jentzsch’s strong lower register may result in his being assigned more important Wagner roles in years to come.

A lighter tenor, Oliver Ringelhahn, is an appealing steersman-cum-lounge singer. However, bass Robert Lloyd (Daland) sounds vocally underpowered. Too many years have passed since Lloyd’s appearance as the youthful, noble Gurnemanz in Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s 1981 Parsifal film.

Veteran Netherlands Opera Hartmut Haenchen and the Netherlands Philharmonic craft a detailed, spirited reading of the score and the choristers, led by Martin Wright, busily move about the stage in this energetic staging. At times, the rushing to and fro seems very derivative of Patrice Chereau’s blocking in the 1976 Ring cycle.

Immigrant Status

Since the Netherlands and other European countries are wrestling with immigrant issues, Kušej may be trying to make a socially conscious statement by depicting the Dutchman’s crew as displaced immigrants. If so, the concept may have backfired. Does having the immigrants careen threateningly about the stage in Act II expose phobias some have towards immigrants from emerging nations? Or does it reinforce these phobias?
After one of the dead immigrants falls into the swimming pool, his blood reddens the water. A somewhat similar and equally gratuitous moment occurs when Alberich rips out a young swimmer’s heart in the the Danish Opera’s production of Das Rheingold and the aquarium water turns red.

Withal, the Nederlandse DVD’s sharply focused camera work, crisp editing, and vibrant sound are plusses, as is the high-quality resolution in the Blu-ray disk I viewed. Even more importantly, the performance's musical values and strong acting make this Holländer one of the best Wagner releases in recent years.
Jerry Floyd
www.wagneropera.net, 10. Juni 2011
Questa volta Kusej tenta la carta della riscrittura drammaturgica. L'azione si svolge ai giorni nostri. L'Olandese è un pirata che ha fatto fortuna nella tratta dei clandestini.
In cuor suo non è felice di questo stile di vita. Sebbene straricco si sente un emarginato evorrebbe riscattarsi entrando a far parte di quel mondo civile che desidera e allo stesso tempo disprezza.
L'occasione gli arriva da Daland, un ricco e azzimato capitano sulla settantina la cui nave (tipo Love Boat) è stata costretta ad un approdo di fortuna causa avaria. L'Olandese inquadra subito l'avidità di Daland e, mostrando rotoli di banconote per migliaia di euro,decide di usarlo per entrare nel bel mondo sposandone la figlia. Senta, la figlia di Daland, è esattamente speculare all'Olandese. La troviamo in una gigantesca beauty-farm circondata da signore mezze nude che si fanno i peli, si cospargono di creme e nuotano in piscina. Lei è un'isolata. Non solo è vestita di nero come l'Olandese (abbigliamento tipico da beauty-farm), ma siede ad un arcolaio (oggetto anche questo tipico di una beauty farm) e tiene in mano un dipinto ad olio con una marina (anche questo è un accessorio che tutte le signore si portano dietro quando vanno dall'estetista).
Una cosa è chiara: lei vorrebbe andarsene da questo mondo dove comanda l'edonismo, il denaro e la superficialità per seguire una vita più consapevole fatta di libertà e purezza.
Le amiche ovviamente, si limano le unghie e la prendono per il culo. Nel frattempo la nave dell'Olandese ha attraccato in città e il carico di clandestini immediatamente cerca di entrare dentro il lussuoso istituto di bellezza (tipico atteggiamento dei migranti quando sbarcano). Mentre Senta canta la ballata oltre la vetrata che separa la Spa dal resto del mondo avviene una carneficina. Alcuni sfortunati clandestini vengono massacrati tra schizzi di sangue e frattagliamenti vari dai vigilantes di Daland il cui capo è, ovviamente, Erik. Costui, smesso il tritacarne, come se niente fosse entra dentro l'istituto di bellezza con stivaloni e fucile senza che nessuna delle signore mezze nude si stupisca (anche questa tipica situazione da beauty-farm).
Gli uomini che entrano dentro la SPA aumentano; arriva Daland che presenta l'Olandese a Senta. Scatta il colpo di fulmine. A Senta piace quest'omone così diverso dai damerini da Vanity Fair da cui è circondata e all'omone intriga questa femmina che è vestita come lui e sa anche lavorare all'arcolaio. Drammaturgicamente però la situazione è strana. Per come l'ha impostata Kusej, i due sono destinati a non capirsi: l'Olandese vuole entrare nella beauty-farm mentre Senta vuole uscirne. Panico. Il regista risolve alla maniera di Salomone: tutto il duetto si svolge con L'Olandese da una parte e Senta dall'altra per concludersi -tanto per non saper nè leggere nè scrivere- con un baciotto sulla bocca come da programma.
Festa sul molo. Dopo tutti i soldi spesi nella beauty-farm le signore vogliono farsi vedere e quindi entriamo un rave party organizzato sulla spiaggia dove questo edonisti gaudenti gozzovigliano senza curarsi di un gruppetto di uomini che stanno sulla riva con tanto di felpe dal cappuccio rialzato. Sono i clandestini dell'Olandese che fanno "Hoho hoej" con le mani acucchiaio attorno all bocca e mettono in fuga la combriccola dei festaioli. Arrivano, non si sa da dove, anche Senta, l'Olandese ed Erik, terzettano per un po' fermi come statue, poi Erik abbatte la coppia trasgressiva a fucilate.Sipario. Non c'è nulla da aggiungere a questo noioso, prevedibile, infantile allestimento in cui la sermoneggiante moralina di Kusej sull'indifferenza della nostra società di fronte ai mali del mondo raggiunge vette di grottesco assoluto. Fortuna vuole che a capo dell'operazione ci sia la Naglestad. La voce è usurata da una carriera massacrante fatta di Alcine, Turandot, Semiramidi, Brunnhildi e Tosche, ma il taglio del personaggio è suggestivo, il lavoro sulla parola emozionante, certe soluzioni timbriche davvero mozzafiato. Un'artista maiuscola. Uusitalo è più convenzionale. Fisicamente un sosia del Vincent D'Onofrio di Full Metal Jacket,il basso baritono finlandese disegna il solito Olandese tonitruante ed estroverso come ne abbiamo sentito migliaia. Purtroppo, quando la parte si fa scopertamente vocalistica (inizio del duetto) siamo a un pelo dallo scrocco. Comunque si guadagna la pagnotta senza infamia e senza lode. Lloyd è Daland. Ha settant'anni e si sentono tutti in una voce che ha ormai perso qualsiasi risonanza. Però certe frasi hanno un'incisività, una pregnanza, un equilibrio da far dimenticare alcune fastidiose afonie. Marco Jentzsch è Erik. Il peggiore del cast, in difficoltà nel tenere la linea vocale, dubbioso nell'intonazione. Dirige Haenchen con mano pesante durante gli uragani e tempi larghi e sussurri estatici nel resto. Qualità video e audio mozzafiato. Inutile making-of di venti minuti senza nemmeno un intervento del regista. Alla larga. WSM
www.operadisc.com, 10. Juni 2011
Der Höhenflug des Holländers

Diese Aufführung ist schlicht und einfach eine Sensation! Sie ist musikalisch so aufregend wie szenisch. Martin Kusej erzählt Richard Wagners Gespenstergeschichte "Der fliegende Holländer" modern, aber er bleibt am Werk, soll heißen: Wind, Wetter und unheimliche Stimmung teilen sich in dieser Aufführung stärker mit als in so mancher romantischen Ausstattungsorgie. Dirigent Hartmut Haenchen erweist sich als einer der besten Wagner-Dirigenten des Tonträger-Zeitalters: Er wagt einerseits extreme Tempi, etwa im wunderbar ausgekosteten Steuermannslied oder in der rasend vorangepeitschten Ouvertüre, andererseits behält er die Detailzeichnung im Auge und verleiht Wagners Musik derart scharfe Konturen, dass sie völlig neu und heutig klingt. Man spürt das revolutionäre Feuer Wagners, der mit seiner wilden Stilmischung drauf und dran ist, die Oper als Horrorthriller zu definieren: Musiktheater zum Nägelabkauen – ein Ereignis! Übrigens: Die "Holländer"-Blue-ray ist der DVD an Bildschärfe und Klangschönheit deutlich überlegen.
Wiener Zeitung, 09. Juni 2011
5 out of 5 stars
Modern and Faithful

As a Wagner fanatic, I have always loved The Flying Dutchman. The music-drama's timeless themes of human kinds search for unrequinted love and redemption in an imperfect world ( themes that later reached their fulfillment in Tristan Und Isolde) have always had special meaning for me. These themes, of course, are most perfectly expressed in the works' music. Wagner got the inspiration for the music during a stormy voyage to London in his early 20's. Now listen to the overture and it makes perfect sense.
As for my review of this production, I absolutely love it. I watched it the other night with complete delight. Catherine Naglestad and Juha Uusitalo are wonderful as Senta and the Dutchman. My most pleasant suprise, however, was Robert Lloyd as Daland. Yes Robert Lloyd! It was awesome to see that after all these years he is still going strong. I have the Lohengrin dvd where he performed along with Placido Domingo and that was well over 20 years ago. One of the key moments in the Flying Dutchman is Dalands' aria in act two where he introduces the Dutchman to his daughter Senta. Robert lloyd pulls it off perfectly and I was cheering! The madiens chorus in act two is awesome and you will love the apparel. Check out Mary!
This is a "modern" production and I understand some may not like it. For me, however, what is most important is the sincerity of the production, how the music is performed, and the singers. All these aspects are great.
The Blu Ray makes it even better. Enjoy.
Dennis A. Brown
www.amazon.com, 08. Juni 2011
Der Spiegel, 4. Juni 2011

Operninszenierungen im DVD-Format können leicht auf langweilige Bilderfolgen zusammenschnurren. Wie man es besser macht, zeigt eine Aufnahme von Richard Wagners "Fliegendem Holländer" aus Amsterdam. Allerdings schippern die Seemänner hier in ungewohnten Regie-Wassern.

Das Meer! Gleich rauschen uns die Wellen entgegen, wenn die DVD von Richard Wagners "Der fliegende Holländer" startet. Bei der Menüwahl und der Ouvertüre tost und braust es, allerdings schwarz-weiß verfremdet, es regnet und stürmt, und das Orchester erscheint erst einmal nur fragmentarisch in den schnell geschnittenen Bildern. Das wird kein "Holländer" von der DVD-Stange, so viel ist schnell sicher.

Kein Wunder, denn die Oper inszenierte Martin Kušej 2010 in Amsterdam, und der bürstet Opernstoffe gerne gegen den Strich. Da mussten sich auch die Produzenten dieser Fassung (Joost Honselaar, Coby Van Dijck) Kušej anpassen. Kušej wäre ja vor Jahren fast einmal in Bayreuth gelandet, doch seine technisch ausgefallenen Regie-Ideen verschreckten den damaligen Chef Wolfgang Wagner derart, dass man lieber auf seine Dienste verzichtete. Keinen Kušej-"Parsifal" gab es 2004, dafür holte man Schlingensief.
Im Amsterdam stellte Martin Kušej einen "Holländer" auf die Bühne, der wenig mit Seefahrer-Romantik und den märchenhaften Zügen des Stoffes zu tun hatte, sondern eher nach tieferen Seelen-Schichten und aktuellen Bezügen buddelte. Das geht bunt los: Erst einmal kein Schiff, kein Riff, kein Segel, dafür so etwas wie eine gestrandete Kreuzfahrt-Besatzung, grelle Klamotten und Reisetaschen, alle nass, frisch und forsch. Ein Matrosen-Chor wie eine Reisegesellschaft unter Stress. Dazu ein Kapitän Daland, der mit Sonnenbrille und weißem Anzug ganz auf eine Mixtur aus Traumschiff-Kapitän und Yacht-Millionär gestylt ist. Das Ganze wirbelt auf einer in ihrer Tiefe zweigeteilten Bühne herum, deren Mitte der Eingang eines Bürohauses teilt. Glastüren als Weltentrenner von Daland und Holländer. Wasser taucht später nur als Pool-Befüllung auf, mehr Meer gibt es nicht - erst ganz am Schluss, als monochromes Panoramabild.

Meer ist nicht drin

Die Bühne baute wieder Martin Zehetgruber, ein langjähriger Mitstreiter von Kušej, der sich bestens auf die Ideen seines Kompagnons versteht. (Beide verbindet auch die 1989 von ihnen gegründete Produktionsgemeinschaft "My Friend Martin.")

Auch Kostümbildnerin Heide Kastler gehört zu diesem festen Team, und ihre Entwürfe prägen die Amsterdamer Inszenierung ebenso wie Regie und Musik. Die schwarze Crew des Holländers streift wie eine Ghetto-Gang in Hoodies über die Bühne, der düstere Chef auf der Suche nach seiner Erlösung trägt ebenso Schwarz, was den statuesken, riesigen und für diese Rolle idealen Juha Uusitalo noch bedrohlicher erscheinen lässt: ein trauriger, böser Riese mit mächtiger Stimme. Der finnische Bassist erfüllt die Rolle buchstäblich nach Maß, ein Wagner-Sänger aus dem Bilderbuch, auch seine Wotan-Interpretation gilt als Weltklasse.

Für die vom Vater als Holländer-Erlöserin eingeplante Senta ließ sich Kastler eine gleichfalls schwarze, lange Robe einfallen, deren edle Schlichtheit sogleich die Beziehung zum Holländer unterstreicht, die ja eben nur oberflächlich von ähnlichen Motiven getragen wird. Auch Senta ist ein Fremdkörper in ihrer Welt, sie kontrastiert optisch und gestisch heftig zur biederen Bürgerlichkeit ihrer Gesellschaft, die Kušej als Wellness-Spa darstellt. Da wird gebadet, massiert, gecremt und gestylt. Spinnstube ade - man vermisst sie nicht wirklich.

Allein wie die US-Amerikanerin Catherine Naglestad diese herbe, melancholische Senta singt, das hat fast Ibsen-Zuschnitt. Sie macht mit glänzendem Sopran und einfühlsamer Gestaltung aus ihrer Rolle eine bewegende, manchmal abgründige Studie.

Liebes- und Lebensqualen

Zu jeder Minute der DVD besticht hierbei die Kameraführung, die nicht allein der Dramaturgie, sondern dem Geist und Stil der Inszenierung folgt und die Leistungen der Akteure besser sichtbar macht, als es jede Theatervorstellung kann. Robert Lloyd bleibt mit seinem sauber gesungenen Daland darstellerisch etwas zurück, aber dafür windet sich der abgewiesene Senta-Verehrer Erik, Marco Jentzsch, unterkühlt und überzeugend in allen Liebes- und Lebensqualen, ganz wie in einer Kušej-Theaterinszenierung.

Mit dem in Dresden geborenen Hartmut Haenchen steht nicht nur ein Amsterdam-erfahrener Dirigent am Pult (er leitete das dortige Opernorchester von 1986 bis 1999), sondern auch ein Kenner des deutschen Bühnenrepertoires. Er studierte in seinen Jugendjahren Wagner-Interpretationen in Bayreuth und begann seine Karriere in Halle und Dresden. Sein "Holländer" strotzt vor Kraft, doch bei allen Druckwellen des Orchesterklanges schafft Haenchen stets klare Konturen und differenzierte Dynamik. Ein solcher, Kušej-geprägter "Holländer" ist sicher nicht jedermanns Sache, aber allein als Dokument einer gelungenen Zusammenarbeit lohnt sich diese DVD schon - und als Beispiel für vorbildlichen Umgang mit dem Medium.
Werner Theurich
Der Spiegel, 04. Juni 2011
A highly imaginative rethink of a difficult early Wagner opera, which boasts a superb orchestral account of the score from Hartmut Haenchen.
Der fliegende Holländer is curiously imbalanced between his newer style and more conventional Italian opera practices. Martin Kušej sets it in a modern world of cruises and ferries, the Dutchman's crew shadowy asylum seekers, long time 'refugees on the seas of conflict and revolution' [Opera Journal].
It is a stupendous performance, slow maybe to adjust and get into, but compulsive viewing once you've got used to its premises. It is given in a continuous one-act version, and for the interludes between the scenes we are with the orchestra - as used to be the way in the opera house.
Terrific, persuasive singing.

Definitely one for Wagner collectors to not pass by.
Peter Grahame Woolf
www.musicalpointers.co.uk, 03. Juni 2011
Taking place today, the bedraggled crew and passengers come into the harbour’s terminal building following a rough crossing in stormy conditions. That is the opening scene in this updated production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Hollander, directed by Martin Kusej. For the second act we are in a swimming baths scenario with a little topless female nudity to add spice. That Senta should still seen spinning wool so as to meet the story is one of those things Kusej cannot modernise, and there are many other points where action and story come adrift. But in today’s drive to up-date every opera ever written, he comes close to a credible alternative. It is at the very close when Erik, Santa’s intended husband, shoots both Senta and the Dutchman that he comes very much at odds with Wagner’s whole concept. Those familiar with the Wagner’s original will know that we should be on the rugged Norwegian coast where Daland’s boat has been blown off course, and having set anchor finds another boat doing much the same nearby. But his crew begin to realise that the other boat are ‘dead or like dragons’. It is the boat of The Flying Dutchman cursed to sail the seven seas for ever until he finds a woman true to him even unto death. That story had fascinated Senta, the daughter of the captain of the Norwegian boat. She is seen with her female friends spinning and they sing a song to complement the rhythm of the wheels. They tease her about her fascination with the story of the Dutchman whose painting is in the room. That man she recognises when her father brings home the captain from the boat docked near his. She falls in love with him, as she is destined to do, and when he eventually departs she leaps into the sea to relieve him of the curse. Vocally this performance, filmed in the Amsterdam Music Theatre early last year, is outstanding, the large frame of Juha Uusitalo to back-up a vocally resplendent voice looks and sounds exactly as I would imagine the Dutchman. Catherine Naglestad is in the line of great Wagnerian lyric sopranos able when called upon to add some robust sounds. Marco Jentzsch makes far more of Erik than we are used to, and Robert Lloyd is the dandy who captains the Norwegian boat. Spirited playing from the Netherlands Philharmonic with Hermut Haenchen on the rostrum, the film presentation seeks to be different. The disc also comes in standard DVD, OA1049D.
David's Review Corner, 01. Juni 2011
... con gran éxito el cumplimiento de la realización multa de Hartmut Haenchen, que provoca en la orquesta rendimiento inigualable de detalle y claridad.
www.hdvagos.com, 29. Mai 2011
‘I think traditional Wagnerians will find it quite challenging!’ intones Robert Lloyd during cast interviews for this Blu-ray/ DVD release, without giving away whether he actually approves or disapproves of Martin Kusej’s take on Der fliegende Holländer; ‘It’s unlike any production I’ve ever been involved in.’ What is certain is that whether it’s really that challenging or not, traditional Wagnerians will not necessarily be surprised that the director doesn’t set the action in Norway (or Scotland), but the sunnier climes of the Mediterranean, aboard Daland’s cruise liner (or yacht, or ferry… we can’t be sure), the Dutchman’s crew transformed into a mysterious bunch of asylum seekers.

The production opens impressively enough, with dramatic shots of a stormy sea beneath threatening grey skies, flashes of lightning superimposed onto close-ups of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Hartmut Haenchen as they dispatch the Overture quite brilliantly. That dramatic impetus is somewhat lost, visually, when the curtain opens on the deserted lobby of a cruise ship, a single flailing fish thrashing about on a clinical white deck! This is, incidentally, the only indication that we’re on board a ship and not in some anonymous hotel foyer. Having donned their lifejackets, the panic-stricken passengers congregate on the deck. The Steersman, Oliver Ringelhahn, sings his ballad after donning a gold lamé jacket from one of the ship’s musicians.

The Dutchman appears through the glass doors and delivers his monologue ‘Die frist ist um’ in front of the passengers, who sit largely motionless, bar those who try to restrain him when he gets a bit agitated. Juha Uusitalo, looking like a glowering thug, is an impressive Dutchman, his dark bass-baritone intense, although there is a hint of strain in the upper register. He spits out the words in a declamatory way, sometimes at the expense of the musical line. As Daland, Robert Lloyd doesn’t look anything like his seventy years. Dressed in white uniform, with dapper Clark Gable moustache, shades, cigar and a silk neckerchief, he’s every inch the middle class captain, a money-grabbing materialist who would happily sell off his daughter to increase his wealth. The ‘riches’ he’s offered are a wad of notes, the results of a whip-round of the Dutchman’s crew, the price – presumably – for not calling the immigration authorities! Lloyd is in decent vocal estate, not as nasal in tone as one is used to hearing him, and he characterizes well. He and Uusitalo perform their duet effectively, a piece which always recalls Donizetti and Rossini to these ears. The male chorus sings extremely well at the conclusion to Act I, the voiceless female passengers having since departed.

Act II, which follows immediately (despite the three act synopsis provided, we’re given the version of the opera without interruption), opens in a spa or health club. There’s a swimming pool beyond the same glass doors which featured in Act I, leading one to speculate that those unfamiliar with the opera may assume we’re still on board the luxury liner. The scene is busy with towelled females receiving any number of beauty treatments, the ‘spinning chorus’ taking on added irony in that it’s only Senta, the only person not preoccupied with making herself look beautiful, who’s actually spinning. The ‘portrait’ Senta sings her ballad to is nothing more than a seascape - it’s the idea of the Dutchman she’s in love with. Catherine Naglestad might not be particularly associated with Wagner, but she’s in very good voice here. Haenchen insures that the orchestra never drowns her out and she’s permitted to sing the role without recourse to any unmusical screeching. She shades her voice beautifully in the ballad, whilst successfully depicting Senta caught up in her own world. Her acting is excellent, restrained but highly effective, much of it done with the eyes. What Kusej sets up very well is his staging is the central conflict in the opera; the Dutchman seeks ‘home’ via a wife, while Senta wants to escape from the bourgeois world in which she’s trapped. This is largely achieved through the restrained, yet intense acting from his leading pair.

Erik can often come across as a bit of a sap, but not here, Marco Jentzsch prowling around, full of menace. In a world of sailors, Erik is a hot-headed hunter, therefore something of an outsider, so it’s no great surprise that he enters, armed with a rifle and a knife, and neatly dispatches two or three of the Dutchman’s crew, unseen by the ladies within, allowing the director to indulge in much smearing of blood across the glass, plus the inevitable corpse floating in the pool, plumes of blood billowing in the shallow end. Jentzsch’s tenor has a decent ring to it, but you never fully sympathise with Erik.

What is a surprise in this staging, however, is the denouement. When the Dutchman declares his identity at his perceived betrayal, Senta doesn’t throw herself into the sea (making a belated first appearance when the glass walls finally part). If I revealed that Erik’s lurking at the side of the stage, you might guess at what happens next… The stage picture is striking here, but I’d have welcomed the sea’s presence somewhat sooner in proceedings.

Marina Prudenskaja is a plummy-toned Mary, but the Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera attack the Act III opening scene with gusto. Usually the Dutchman’s crew are off-stage, but here they are centre stage, huddled together (under temporary arrest?) while Daland’s crew party at the rear of the stage. They then try to break into the compound and issue a few beatings with baseball bats until frightened off by the zombie-like crew. Haenchen draws on his period instrument background to offer an orchestral account which never drowns his singers and keeps the tempo flowing, in a manner which recalls his very often revelatory stewardship of the Amsterdam Ring some years ago.

The sound is exemplary, as one has grown to expect from Opus Arte, as is the crystal clear picture afforded this blu-ray release. Musically, this Dutchman has much to recommend it and although the staging may dismay some, Kusej does have something valid to say about the protagonists which is worth experiencing.
Mark Pullinger
http://www.opera-britannia.com, 02. Mai 2011
Ein Holländer zwischen Treue und Tod

Als ich die Blu-ray Disc zum ersten Mal angesehen hatte, war ich der Meinung:ist das wirklich der fliegende Holländer auf den ich so gespannt war? Beim zweiten Ansehen versuchte ich mir das vorliegende Ereignis näherzubringen. Doch schon bei den ersten Klängen der Ouvertüre, wo die Elemente wüten, der Sturm braust,die Wellen peitschen, es regnet und blitzt und alles noch auf Totalvision in Schwarz/Weiß projiziert,war ich abermals ein bisschen traurig. Zwar wurde diese herrliche Ouvertüre vom Dirigenten Hartmut Haenchen plastisch, kraftvoll und sehr professionell wie immer angegangen, fehlte mir trotzdem, aus alter Gewohnheit, der freie Blick in den Orchestergraben. Ich wollte die wundervolle Musik Wagners nicht nur hören, sondern ich wollte ihre Kraft, ihre Innerlichkeit sehen und spüren können.
Doch dann wurde es dennoch ein ganz cooler wie interessanter Opernabend, was nicht zuletzt an den hervorragenden Protagonisten dieser Aufführung lag, die hier zur Verfügung standen. Solisten wie der markante hünenhafte Juha Uusitalo (Holländer), eine etwas zurückhaltene Catherine Naglestad (Senta), ein kaltschnäuziger aber geschäftstüchtiger Robert Lloyd (Daland) und der brillante Tenor Marco Jentsch (Erik). Aber auch der Opernchor unter Martin Wright trägt durch seine Klangschönheit wie durch seine darstellerischen Fähigkeiten zum Gelingen genauso bei, wie das Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra mit dem genialen Dirigenten Hartmut Haenchen, der in punkto Wagner-Rezeption, ein überaus gefragter Mann ist.
Mit einer zeitgenössischen Umsetzung des Regisseurs Martin Kusej, der die zweite Fassung von 1860 gewählt hat, die sich von der Erstfassung etwas durch den Schluss - Wagner fügte der Oper ein Erlösungsthema hinzu - unterscheidet, konnte ich mich anfreunden; auch wenn man immer wieder auf Klischees stößt, bleibt doch das Konzept nachvollziehbar und Richtung weisend. So liebe ich Richard Wagner und so will ich ihn erleben - punktgenau, ohne Schnickschnack und verstaubtes Pathos.
Die Aufmachung der Blu-ray Disc ist wunderbar. Es gibt unteranderem das gewohnt brillante Bild mit super Tonformat in 16:9 dts HD, ein sehr gut erstelltes Booklet, alle wichtigen Untertitel sowie Cast gallery,Insights/Interviews als Extras.
Wer moderne Inzenierungen mag, der wird diese lieben..!
www.amazon.de, 29. April 2011
If you like your Wagner staged in the traditional manner, then this production won’t be for you. If however you think that the themes in Wagner’s work – fatalistic romantic destinies, love, duty, power, suffering, the conflict between tradition and modernity – have a timeless quality and can resonate with its subject no matter what the setting, then you might be inclined to at least understand why a producer might want to relate those themes in a way that is relevant to a modern audience. The question with the De Nederlandse Opera production of Der fliegende Holländer however is whether they take it too far and perhaps take too many liberties with the opera.

Der fliegende Holländer however, is not a late Wagner work, the composition not conforming precisely to the musical standards that the composer would later set, nor indeed in the very specific manner in which it should be presented. Written around the same time as Rienzi, Der fliegende Holländer certainly points towards that direction and is a fascinating opera to examine the beginning of Wagner’s progression, but it is still curiously imbalanced between the newer style and the influences of old, more conventional Italianate opera practices, and the switch between them can be quite jarring in parts of the opera. Since we can’t go back however and consider the opera and its relevance afresh through the eyes of a 19th century audience – and since even Wagner used mythology to speak to a contemporary audience of modern ideas for a Germanic art and principles – we have no choice but to consider the opera from a modern perspective in any case.

Director Martin Kušej takes advantage of the somewhat schizophrenic split in the opera itself between tradition and modernity in order to present it meaningfully to a modern-day Dutch audience. There are no longer sailing ships sailing the seven seas for years at a time – ship navigation, seafaring and commerce are all very different. If you think about it in modern terms, it shouldn’t really be surprising to see shipping in terms of cruises and ferries, the Dutchman here arriving on a Norwegian ferry, his crew asylum seekers, looking for a homeland, a place to settle after a lifetime of being tossed around as refugees on the seas of conflict and revolution. It shouldn’t be difficult either to consider that arrival of these figures being perceived as a threat to those who enjoy a comfortable western bourgeois lifestyle.

Whether those multicultural subjects have any place in a Wagner opera is for the opera lover to consider (or not, should such interpretations not hold any interest for traditionalists), but it strikes me as a valid response to the themes of Der fliegende Holländer, and – most importantly – it’s presented here in a manner that doesn’t undermine or lessen the importance of the other eternal themes in the opera and the subjects that held meaning for Richard Wagner, namely the loss of one’s homeland, a consideration of what is a sense of homeland, and all the associated themes that go alongside it where love, family, stability and security count for more than richness and social climbing in a globalised society where money talks. Those subjects are treated with utmost reverence in this production, and the reason why they can be given a modern spin is because the opera is so powerful in its expression of them, tying them deeply into a mythology that does indeed hold mystique and attraction in the legend of the Flying Dutchman, but also in the use of the sea itself – a powerful symbol in any guise, but even more so here in the musical expression and embryonic use of leitmotif that Wagner employs so evocatively.

While I feel that the opera’s themes are done justice to in this production then – but I can quite understand why it might not work for everyone – what is just as important, and ultimately persuasive here is the performance of the opera itself. Quite simply, it is sung and played magnificently, and comes across particularly well in the stunning sound reproduction that is presented on the Blu-ray edition. Not only are the voices of Juha Uusitalo and Catherine Naglestad superb in their range, control and power, but they blend together most marvellously as a singers and as the couple of the Dutchman and Senta. This is totally a 5-star production in terms of performance and singing alone (as well as for the quality of the Blu-ray) – but it is also a sincere, interesting and fascinating attempt to relate the opera to modern themes. If the concept is perhaps a slightly imperfect fit, or slightly inconsistent with the original intentions of the opera, Der fliegende Holländer was always an imperfect opera in the first place – but, like this production, no less fascinating for those perceived flaws and inconsistencies.
http://filmjournal.ne, 17. April 2011
.... first mention the extraordinary conductor. I very much liked his Ring, but his Parsifal made me hooked up on his way to interpret the music by Wagner — the beauty and the capacity to bring new quality to the show through music: that Parsifal was one of those rare operatic experiences which stays with you forever. Now what I can say about his Hollaender? It is simply unbeatable. Yes, “unbeatable” is the right word! Of course the chemistry between him and this orchestra is an important factor — you don’t get this result with just several weeks of rehearsals; it takes years to build this level of mutual confidence and understanding. He and his orchestra never covered the singers, every instrument was distinctly percievable, yet the whole ensemble produced a gloriously homogenous sound. The nuances Haenchen impeccably sculpts through his choices of tempi. They do not only give a better sound to the orchestra, but they support and further emphasize the dramatic intentions by Kusej which were simultaneously occurring on the stage. ... this orchestra and Hartmut Haenchen were simply wonderful ..."
Ganze Rezension
www.opera-cake.blogspot.ch, 15. Februar 2010