'The Flying Dutchman': Wagner's Eternal Wanderer

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Michael Volle as Holländer in Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer .

For his fourth full opera, The Flying Dutchman, Wagner chose a popular maritime legend as the basis for an eerie and evocative work. In it, we meet an archetypal character that appears time and again in art and literature: the eternal wanderer. Neither dead nor alive, the Flying Dutchman is cursed to sail the seas for all eternity, searching for true love to save him. 

This week on He Sang/She Sang, William Berger, author of the book Wagner without Fear, discusses one of history's most controversial and visionary composers. He explores the hit tunes and earworms, the power of transformation and the unexpected parallels between Wagner and The Beatles. 

Overture to The Flying Dutchman (Round Top Festival Institute):  

"Die frist ist um" (James Morris, bass-baritone): 

 This episode features excerpts from the following album:

Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer (Sony Classical, 1997)
— James Morris, bass-baritone; Deborah Voigt, soprano; Ben Heppner, tenor; Jan-Hendrik Rootering, bass; the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by James Levine