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Overture to Der Fliegende Holländer

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman - Overture The Paris years (1832-42) were far from easy for Wagner. His plan to batter down the doors of the Paris Opéra  with his Rienzi proved misconceived. The Opéra directors let it be known that there was a five- or six-year waiting period for composers wanting their works performed within its hallowed walls, but that a one-act curtain-raiser might stand a chance of being accepted. Accordingly Wagner produced a scenario entitled Le Hollandais volant and based, in part, on Heinrich Heine's ironical treatment of the tale of the Flying Dutchman, a man condemned to sail the sea for all eternity until redeemed by a woman's undying love. The overture was the last number to be written and was completed on 19th November 1841. Like the opera it originally ended with the Dutchman's motif. Not until 1860, when Wagner was preparing the overture for a series of concerts in Paris, did he alter the ending and add the Tristanesque harmonies of Senta's transfiguring love theme.

© Stewart Spencer & Katie Lang


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