Inspired by an ancient Nordic legend and the autobiographic memoires of an adventurous journey by ship from Prussia to London, Der fliegende Holländer (The flying Dutchman) was composed by Wagner in 1840 and performed at the Hoftheater in Dreden on 2 January 1843. The opera can be seen as a forerunner of grand Wagnerian dramas, both for its musical nature, where despite the clearly-defined musical numbers, reference is made to a set of reminiscent themes which innervate the score, and also due to the decisive move towards mythical subjects. The Dutchman, tainted by the sin of hubris, having cursed God, has been condemned to endlessly wander the seas until the day of Judgement. Only the pure and unconditional love of a woman can restore his peace and save him from his tragic destiny. The opportunity comes when he meets Daland, whose daughter Senta is irredeemably attracted by the mysterious figure of the Dutchman. It is she who will bring an end to the curse with the sacrifice of her love. Refusing a life of security, offered by the chance to marry her fiancée Erik, Senta chooses the unknown and, in order to follow the Dutchman and prove the sincerity of her feelings, she throws herself into the sea, ending the opera with a finale of death and transfiguration.
The performance of January 15th will be dedicated to Maestro Bruno Rigacci.