The Flying Dutchman, Heartbreakingly Beautiful By Olin Meadows

flying-dutchman-temp_event-640x420The story of anguish and despair on the high seas, The Flying Dutchman sails into Austin via The Austin Opera at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.  The classical opera by Wagner is the Story of “The Flying Dutchman a cursed sailor known lost out to Sea.  “The Flying Dutchman (played expertly by Wayne Tigges),” is condemned by Satan to roam the seas for all eternity, however the angels have given him a reprieve, every seven years he is allowed to walk on land in search of a wife who will be true to him until death.  Enter Daland (sung by the fantastic Peter Volpe) who has a young beautiful daughter Senta (performed by Melody Moore).  Daland meets the Dutchman out on the sea in a storm and invites him back to his home to meet his daughter Senta, when the Dutchman arrives he finds Senta already madly in love with him, and later she explains that she knew it was him all along! She confesses to knowing about his curse and that she knows we will die with him.

The music is gorgeous, and has been lauded for over a century as being one of the best operas ever written. The Austin Opera has done a fantastic job with casting this production, in particular the roles of Senta by Melody Moore and The Dutchman by Wayne Tigges. The two unite in a passionate duo with humor and intensity perfect for the moment. Add to that the sultry deep bass voice of Peter Volpe as Daland you have a cast that brings tears to your eyes. In many moments I needed to close my eye and just enjoy the sounds coming from the stage. In addition to the voices of the cast their acting and emoting is top notch, there were many moments when Moore as Senta give the audience a look and got good laughs in the moment followed by another glance and the audiences felt her deep love for the man she hardly knew. Pairing excellent acting and fantastic voice with the incredible use of projections to aide the story, you have a feast for the senses.

Austin Opera has done great work in employing the use of multiple levels of projected images and set designs which really work well to add to the show. So many times projects can be over played and cheesy in this production they serve the action so well and add one more layer to the beauty on stage.  The sets and costumes were borrowed from the Arizona Opera and serve the purpose although I felt they lacked some creativity and I wish the opportunities for design and construction could have gone to one of our many talented local designers, but they certainly did not detract from the action of the show.

The Flying Dutchman runs through November 20 at The Long Center. For more information and tickets log on to


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