The Flying Dutchman, Leeds Town Hall, review: A passionate, intense take on Wagner

Full use is made of lighting and 19th-century costumes

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The Independent Culture

Between Opera North’s splendid semi-stagings of the four parts of Wagner’s Ring cycle over the past four years, and next year’s complete cycles, there was a Wagnerian gap. That has now been filled by a similar semi-staging of The Flying Dutchman, involving several of the same singers, and, of course, ON’s chorus and orchestra under the music director Richard Farnes.

“Semi-staged” underplays what happens. Full use is made of lighting and 19th-century costumes, and all the singers turn in intense and considered performances. Bela Perencz, as the doomed Dutchman, delivers a commanding, full-throated turn. He has a powerful stage presence. Mats Almgren was a strikingly benign Daland, and Mati Turi an angry, desperate Erik. But it was Alwyn Mellor who provides the most passionate, complete and detailed performance as Senta. Mellor was superb. 

Supporting everything were the chorus and orchestra, especially the brass, sounding magnificent, producing for Richard Farnes a performance of both grandeur and excitement.

On tour to 11 July (www.operanorth.co.uk)

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