The Ghost ShipLe Vaisseau fantôme, ou Le maudit des mers
Pictures / Videos
Pierre-Louis Dietsch (1808 – 1865)
Concert version, at the Konzerthaus Berlin
Opéra fantastique in two acts; Libretto based on Richard Wagner by Paul Foucher and Henry Révoil; First performance on 9. November, 1842 in Paris; German premiere
In French language with German surtitles
The director of the Paris Opéra, Léon Pillet, told Richard Wagner unequivocally that it would be at least seven years before any of his operas could be performed. Feeling a little sorry for the impecunious composer from Saxony, however, he offered him 500 francs if he would commit his ideas for LE HOLLANDAIS VOLANT to paper. Paying money for the right to use material was an unusual step to take in the 19th century, when intellectual copyright was not as well defined as it is today. But Pillet had a plan: the writers Foucher and Révoil would come up with a libretto which he would then turn over to a composer of church music whom he knew, conductor and teacher Pierre-Louis Dietsch, who would set it to music.
In penning their libretto Foucher and Révoil went back to the work on which Wagner had based his own sketch – a puppet show that had been performed in London in the 1820s (not in Amsterdam, as Heinrich Heine falsely claimed in his "Memoirs of Herr Schnabelewopski"). The libretto also borrows motifs from Sir Walter Scott's "The Pirate" and a novella by an English sea captain. They gave Wagner's characters names: the "daughter" was christened Minna, the "rich Scottish trader" took the appellation of Barlow, the "young man" assumed two incarnations, Magnus and Eric, and even the Dutchman received a name of his own - Troïl. The story is set on a Shetland island and the Dutchman's crew is Swedish. The chorus scene compositions in particular impressed the critics [who included Hector Berlioz]. In writing the music, Dietsch was able to apply the experience he had gathered as a church musician since his days as a choirboy in Dijon and later as capellmeister of St Eustache church.
In Cooperation with Palazzetto Bru Zane
Introduction (in German language): 19:00h / Beethoven-Saal