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Florentine Opera Opens Season With 'The Flying Dutchman'

As the Florentine Opera Company gets ready for their opening production of the season, the conductor and some of the cast members stop by Lake Effect to chat. 

In nautical lore, The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship doomed to sail the oceans, its crew having committed some heinous crime, or contracted some awful disease. From the mid-17th century on, sailors have claimed sightings of the ghost ship – often before a storm at sea. Seeing the apparition was considered the worst of all possible omens.

Richard Wagner’s setting of the tale in his 1843 opera of the same name is one of the composer’s earliest. It allows one small difference in the plot in that once every seven years, The Flying Dutchman can come into port and its ghostly captain can become human for a short time. If while human he finds and secures a woman’s true love, the curse is broken.

The Flying Dutchman opens the Florentine Opera’s season this Friday evening at Uihlein Hall. It’s a new production, conducted by Maestro Joseph Rescigno and directed by Paula Suozzi.

Rescigno, along with cast members Jenni Bank, David Danholt, Peter Volpe, and Wayne Tigges joins Lake Effect's Bonnie North in the studio to discuss the opera and the challenges it presents to performers.

"The piece overall is much more lyric than anything else he wrote later on, and I think although [Wagner] was experimenting with his forthcoming style, this is a very lyric opera," Volpe says. "We don't think of really lyricism when we think of Wagner first off."

Bass-baritone Wayne Tigges will sing the title role in the Florentine Opera’s production of The Flying Dutchman, Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank will sing the role of Mary, tenor David Danholt the role of Erik and bass Peter Volpe the role Daland.

Listen to the complete version of bass-baritone Wayne Tigges' rendition of the Harry Chapin song Saturday Morning:

SaturdayMorning.mp3
Bass-baritone Wayne Tigges performing the Harry Chapin song, "Saturday Morning."

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.