The young Wagner was inspired by the elementary power of nature in 1839, when a planned eight-day sea voyage ended up taking three weeks owing to a gale. The experience reminded him of one of Heine's stories: 'That wooden ghost, that spook-ship, is so called from the captain, a Dutchman, who once swore by all the devils that he would get round a certain mountain - its name has escaped me - in spite of a fearful storm, even if he would have to sail until Judgment Day. The devil took him at his word, therefore he must sail forever, until set free by a woman's loyalty.'
This legend of a woman's extreme self-sacrifice and a man carrying the immense burden of his fate was reborn as one of the most popular of Romantic operas. The accursed Dutchman who can only step ashore every seven years is the first among Wagner's heroes to yearn for the miracle of being redeemed by love. Wagner composed it as a one-act work in 1841, but expanded it to three-acts even before the 1843 Dresden world première. This is the version to be played in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall.
Concert version performance in German, with Hungarian surtitles
Presented by: Hungarian State Opera
Conductor: Gergely Kesselyák