To mark the 200th birthday of composer Richard Wagner, Montreal Opera will produce his youth masterpiece "The Phantom Vessel", in an almost entirely German cast


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The Phantom Vessel by Richard Wagner is the youth work of a genius whose first masterpiece shattered all usual opera frames. This story of love and death, desire and redemption, with its music of fog and storm, is the most evident way into Wagner's work – and remains a masterpiece one cannot help but admire still.

As a token of authenticity, the 4 main characters will be sung by German artists: The Dutchman will be baryton-bass Thomas Gazheli, a former singer of Munich's Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz; bass Reinhard Hagen will embody Daland, whose daughter will be soprano Maida Hundeling. Endrick Wottrich, tenor, will sing her financé Erik's part. Canadian conducter Keri-Lynn Wilson will conduct the Metropolitan Orchestra and Montreal Opera Choir, in a Christopher Alden stage as revisited by Marilyn Gronsdal.

Young Senta is engaged to hunter Erik. Her father though, Daland, an ambitious sailor, offers  her to marry a rich sailor he met during a storm... ignoring this man, his future son-in-law, is the famous "Flying Dutchman" himself, a legendary hero condemned to wander eternally about the seas. Captain of an unsinkable phantom vessel, he won't be saved unless a woman swears to be faithful to him for ever. Senta, an extremely passionate young woman, knows of the legend and is already in love with the Dutchman – before even getting to know him. During the wedding preparations, Erik, Senta's disappointed financé, reminds her of her past promises. The Dutchman overhears this conversation and sees himself betrayed. Desperate, he hastily raises the anchor but, in an ultimate gesture of devotion, Senta throws herself into death, thus freeing the Dutchman of his curse.

In 1843, Wagner creates his own version of the legend of the Flying Dutchman. This piece marks the start of the most brilliant and yet controversial career ever. Not before many years will he become world-famous with his revolutionary operas: Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan and Isolde, and above all his famous « tetralogy » - a group of 4 operas named The Ring of Niebelungen. This immense, several hours long musical epic, with a never-before-seen denseness, always has been a challenge of choice for directors – as testifies the recently staged Ring by director Robert Lepage at New York's Metropolitan Opera. With The Phantom Vessel, Wagner inaugurates his very personal art, at first badly received by audiences, and in the end an object of passion for innumerous fervent fans. Franz Liszt was one of those, who created several of Wagner's operas, as well as King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who helped Wagner realize one of his dreams: Building a theater exclusively for his work, in Bayreuth. The city quickly became a place of pilgrimage for the composer's admirers, and still remains so a century-and-a-half later.


November 10, 13, 15, 17 at Place des Arts.
Tickets and reservations

Romantic opera in 3 pictures by Richard Wagner (Leipzig 1813 – Venice 1883), presented WITHOUT INTERMISSION
Libretto by the composer, based on Aus den Memoiren des Herren von Schnabelewopski by Heinrich Heine
Created at Desden's Hoftheater, January 2, 1843
Last production at Montreal Opera: September 1993
In German with French and English surtitles
Production : Canadian Opera Company

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