The Flying Dutchman: The Dresden Performance Material for Richard Wagner's Opera

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Flying Dutchman has opened this year’s Bayreuth Festival. We will take the opportunity to look at the performance materials from the Dresden Court Opera. Just the fact that some of the parts were in use for over 100 years is alone worth mentioning: from 1842, the year of the premiere, to 1952 (and some even to 1978). Accordingly, the music has a lot to say by way of cuts, insertions, textual changes, and also changes to the music. For example, the second trombone part has two lines of music that were pasted in (see image) and written by Wagner himself, probably for when the material was on loan to Zurich in 1852. It is also worth looking at the last few pages of the parts. There are numerous notes on performances, some with the names of the singers or conductors.

Image: Der fliegende Holländer, D-Dl - Mus.5876-F-509 2. Trombone, entr’acte before Act II.

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