Der fliegende Holländer

David Lloyd-Jones
The Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Date/Location
1975
BBC London
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
DalandStafford Dean
SentaGwyneth Jones
ErikKeith Erwen
MaryJoan Davies
Der Steuermann DalandsRobert Ferguson
Der HolländerNorman Bailey
Stage director
Set designerDavid Myerscough-Jones
TV directorBrian Large
Gallery
Reviews
Michael Richter

PRODUCTION

Film of live production. Dark staging emphasizes the brooding and mystical qualities of the score, but is somewhat mitigated by moving the date to the turn of the eighteenth century. Conventional staging is brightened with constructive variants from the traditional; a motif of the spinning wheel (of fate?) is added to good effect.

PERFORMANCES

Lloyd-Jones’ reading is unremarkable and propels the score effectively. The orchestra is solid and responsive; the chorus is somewhat ragged and sounds underrehearsed. Bailey is outstanding, singing with authority and conviction. Jones is lovely to see and to hear despite some wobble in the tone. Dean disappoints because his G&S style does not fit the rather stolid character of this production. The other soloists are satisfactory without being memorable.

TECHNICAL COMMENTS

Video cannot be assessed on the inadequate reivew copy; it appears to be more than acceptable. Pre-HiFi monaural sound is sufficient to communicate wonderfully the committed performance. Camera work is outstanding, aided by the augmented lighting possible in the absence of an audience. The translation does not distort the text, and a quality transfer would be welcome.

IMDb User Review

Die Fliegende Hollander is a fine opera. While it is not my favourite of Wagner’s operas(between Tristan Und Isolde and Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg), it is easy to see why it was his first success. It has a fine story, very interesting characters(especially Dutchman) and some really phenomenal music(the standouts being one of Wagner’s best Overtures, Die Frist Ist Um, the Spinning Chorus and Mogst Du Mein Kind). I found this performance from 1975 terrific. The fact that it is in English will be a shock to a lot of people, I am one of those who does much prefer Wagner in German(I imagine Wagner would feel the same if he was anything like Bach who insisted on having his work performed in his native tongue or something like that) but didn’t mind it being in English. It is absolutely impeccable musically, the orchestral playing is genuinely stirring, the chorus sing with character and David Lloyd-Jones’ conducting keeps the pace flowing smoothly without lessening the dramatic intensity of the orchestration. He is helped by the performances of the three leads. Norman Bailey is truly impressive as the Dutchman, he has a very noble and rich-sounding voice that he phrases and shades beautifully, and he does a fine commanding job of bringing out the many sides of Dutchman’s tormented character. Gwyneth Jones was at a stage where her top had a tendency to be wobbly and strained, but there were many times where she sounded absolutely radiant(more so I feel than the 1971 Bohm-conducted live performance) and she proves herself as Senta to be an intelligent actress. Stafford Dean sings resonantly, and his Daland has the ambivalence he should have. All in all, hearing Die Fliegende Hollander in English is going to initially sound unusual but it is so well performed here that it doesn’t feel too much of a problem. 9/10

Bethany Cox

Rating
(6/10)
User Rating
(3/5)
Media Type/Label
Premiere, HO
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Technical Specifications
336×240, 1.2 Mbit/s, 1.1 GByte, 4:3 (MPEG-4)
Remarks
Movie, sung in English