Tag Archives: Wagner

Hitting the Stage Review – The Dutchman Flies Again, Better Than Ever

Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) opened Friday, Feb. 13 at the Blaisdell Center. The production, originally directed by Francesca Zambello for Glimmerglass in 2013, is in stark contrast to Hawaii Opera Theatre’s production of the same opera in 2005. And I think some of the credit has to go to the MetOpera Live in HD series which has made it possible for people interested in opera to see the best there is without the cost of plane tickets and the insane ticket prices at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. But more of this later.

Friday’s performance provided a thoroughly enjoyable evening of opera–provided you didn’t get involved in trying to make logical sense of the plot. There is the young girl Senta who is obsessed with the legend of the Flying Dutchman, who for his hubris has been condemned to sail the world forever. He does get one chance every 7 years to find a faithful woman, which would presumably allow him to die in peace. Overtones of an extended “Groundhog Day.” Senta even has a portrait of the Dutchman (He had time to sit for a portrait? And she got possession of it?)

Her father, Daland, a Norwegian ship’s captain, encounters a mysterious ship, and its captain offers him lots of treasure in exchange for the hand of his daughter. Daland agrees way too quickly (audience laughed a lot at this), and takes him home to meet Senta. Women didn’t have much choice in the past–or in lots of present day orthodox societies. But Senta immediately recognizes the Dutchman and can’t wait to be alone with him.

Senta also has a hapless suitor Erik, who seems to have Senta’s consent to marriage, although he is kind of jealous of that portrait she keeps carrying around. The plot works out the tension involved in Senta’s choice between the world of her father, Erik, and Norwegian society versus her heightened romantic commitment to the tragic Dutchman.

The leading singers are excellent. Jay Hunter Morris (Erik) has sung Wagner at the Met, Ryan McKinny (the Dutchman) is scheduled for the Met, and Melody Moore (Senta) is Met-ready. The arias and duets are thrilling. Paul Whelan (Daland) has a little trouble with the lowest notes. Nathan Munson (Steersman) has a lovely ballad for his girlfriend. Maya Hoover is a little underpowered as Mary.

The orchestra begins the evening with an overture that uses the horns to simulate the storm at sea, alternating with the contrasting theme of redemption through faith. They got bravos from the audience even before the curtain went up.

The set design is fairly abstract, with metal scaffolding supporting ropes that dangle down to represent a ship’s rigging or, later, the women’s work at spinning wheels. I love new productions of old operas that bring new life to familiar music, but some may miss the black ship with red sails sliding ominously into view. Instead there is another scaffolding at the back of the stage with five writhing wraiths, presumably previous potential wives who were faithless and therefore damned.

The male chorus had a lot of activity, pulling on their ropes, drinking, and dancing some fancy hornpipes. The women braided their ropes and showed us their sexual ecstasy when they heard their men had returned from their voyage.

Many people have never been to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. So, through the years many local opera companies did the best they could to produce what they thought was grand opera without having an excellent model to follow. (I was lucky to have been born 20 minutes west of the George Washington Bridge and to have had a grandmother with a subscription to the Saturday matinees at the Met–two seats second row center in the Dress Circle.)

Now the playing field has changed. Starting on December 30, 2006, the MetOpera Live in HD series began to show live broadcasts in local movie theatres of some of the Saturday matinees at the Met. What did we learn from this? People interested in opera could now see (hear!) the best singers, see the incredible sets and costumes, and perceive what the new and exciting directors could do to make live opera live.

There was an effect on the Met as well. They learned how to film operas for TV, made sure singers could act and “move” as well as sing, and brought the chorus up to speed. No longer acceptable to just stand and sing, the chorus now earns their $200,000 annual salary (I am not joking) by acting and dancing as well as singing in 16 different languages, rehearsing and performing 6 days a week.

[Here in Honolulu these performances are shown at Dole Cannery Stadium 18. On Feb. 14 you could have seen two one-acts: Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. That performance repeats at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Highly recommended. Tickets are $18-$24, a real bargain compared to tickets to the Met in NYC. For future performances google MetOpera and click on Live in HD. Of course we can’t see them really live here, but the performance we see was live in NYC a mere five hours before. And you can have popcorn with your opera; Granny is spinning in her grave.]

So when I read in the Star Advertiser that the chorus for HOT’s Flying Dutchman was eager to participate in the rope climbing and other stage activities, I said to myself, “Someone has been watching MetOpera Live in HD” because that sure didn’t happen in 2005! The 2015 chorus has been inspired. And I hope some of them are holdovers from the 2005 production because this time they really had fun.

Highly recommend this production!

by Hester Lewellen for Hitting the Stage



The Flying Dutchman by David Takagi 31 800x450 - The Flying Dutchman has returned to Honolulu!

The Flying Dutchman has returned to Honolulu!

Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman takes center stage of the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Feb. 13, 15, & 17!

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Will The Dutchman be set free of a curse to wander the seas for eternity?  Will he find love? Find out for yourself and see this acclaimed The Flying Dutchman! 

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Buy your tickets online now and receive a special 25% discount on single tickets when you enter the promo code HOTINLOVE at checkout!

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This production makes its way to Honolulu, by way of the Glimmerglass Festival in New York, and stars original cast members Ryan McKinny (The Dutchman), Melody Moore (Senta), & Jay Hunter Morris (Erik)!

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You do not want to miss this epic experience!

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Buy your tickets online today!!!

(Photos by David Takagi)

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HOT Tube – Preview of The Flying Dutchman

Check out this amazing preview of HOT’s production of The Flying Dutchman starring Ryan McKinny, Melody Moore, & Jay Hunter Morris, as they are caught in a love triangle that has captivated audience for generations!

Buy your tickets now to The Flying Dutchman online and at www.HawaiiOpera.org or call the HOT Box Office at 808.596.7858!

1IMG 2600 800x450 - Behind-The-Scenes of The Flying Dutchman Rehearsals

Behind-The-Scenes of The Flying Dutchman Rehearsals


HOT’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman is this month!  Enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots from Rehearsal as the Cast, Dancers, & HOT Chorus have been hard at work with Maestro John Keenan, Director Sara Widzer, & Choreographer Eric Sean Fogel to bring this to Life in the HOT Rehearsal Space at 445 Cooke Street in Kaka’ako.

Buy your tickets now online or call the HOT Box Office at 808.596.7858!

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HOT Preview-The Flying Dutchman at the Opera Residency in Our Kaka’ako!

This past Tuesday, HOT shared a HOT Preview at the Opera Residency to a packed house in Honolulu’s Urban Arts District of Kaka’ako!  The HOT Rehearsal Space was born from a collaboration with Kamehameha Schools Our Kaka’ako initiative and HOT is currently rehearsing for February’s The Flying Dutchman!

The tortured Dutchman

The audience took in a special behind-the-scenes look at the set and had the chance to learn more about the the story and interact with the characters.  Check out the highlights below.





Who wants to date Daland's daughter Senta?

Don't mess with Mary

Erik's ready ladies

Senta waiting on her a man of her dreams...

HOT Preview with Simon

HOT Preview in Kakaako

HOT Preview Crowd
Special thanks to HOT Orvis Opera Studio Members Sean Sakata (The Dutchman), Jacque Comer (Senta), Renson Madarang (Daland), Leah Ralston (Mary), and Mihal Nowicki (Erik) for their time and portrayals of the cast from The Flying Dutchman!

If you haven’t, buy your tickets now to The Flying Dutchman online at www.HawaiiOpera.org or call the HOT Box Office at 808.596.7858!