Reviewed by Paula Citron
There is much to recommend about the COC’s revival of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. First there is the glorious music, and the assembled cast is superb. Then there is Johannes Debus in the pit, reconfirming how lucky the COC is to have him as music director.
The evocative set, with its grandiose Fascist architecture, and the 1930s setting with its echoes of the rise of Nazism as expressed through the costumes, speak volumes. The Dutchman will find salvation, but humanity is heading for one of its darkest hours.
The bad news is that director Christopher Alden, the king of stage excess, has included so much lurching, staggering and wall clinging, as to diminish the effect of the stage picture. There are, however, moments when the opera visually soars.
Despite the craziness on stage, the drama of Wagner’s thrilling score shines throughout. Kudos to maestro Debus and his orchestra and singers.
The Flying Dutchman continues at the Four Seasons Centre until May 20
The Flying Dutchman
Canadian Opera Company
Composed by Richard Wagner
Conducted by Johannes Debus
Directed by Christopher Alden
Starring Evgeny Nikitin, Julie Makerov, Mats Almgren, Robert Künzli, Barbara Dever and Adam Luther
Four Seasons Centre, Apr. 24 to May 20, 2010