Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Dietsch: Dietsch le Vaisseau Fantome

Magazine article Gramophone

Wagner: Dietsch: Dietsch le Vaisseau Fantome

Article excerpt

Wagner * Dietsch  Dietsch Le vaisseau fantome  Russell Braun bar                       Troll Sally Matthews sop                      Minna Bernard Richter ten                    Magnus Ugo Rabec bass                         Barlow Eric Cutler fen                          Eric Mika Kares bass                       Scriften Wagner Der fliegende Hollander (Paris version) Evgeny Nikitin bass-bar               Dutchman Ingela Brimberg sop                      Senta Mika Kares bass                Donald (Daland) Eric Cutler fen                   Georg (Erik) Helene Schneiderman mez                   Mary Bernard Richter ten                  Steersman Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Les Musiciens du Louvre / Marc Minkowski Naive [B][4] V5349 (4h 22' * DDD) 

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Wagner (in 1839) was told bluntly that music by a 'stubborn idiot, assailing us with impossible ideas' was not wanted for 'at least seven years' (ironically the length of the phantom Dutchman's obligatory term at sea). However, the Opera's director thought enough of Wagner's sketch of the story's drama to buy it from him. It was passed over to playwright, critic and novelist Paul-Henri Foucher (Victor Hugo's brother-in-law) and Benedict-Henri Revoil to make into a libretto for Pierre-Louis Philippe Dietsch, composer, instrumentalist and now chorusmaster at the Opera.

This important release finally gives us the chance to hear Dietsch and Foucher's Le vaisseau fantome, ou Le maudit des mers. It does show the influence of Wagner's sketch. The heroine Minna sings a ballad of the phantom sailor Troll (Act 1, 'II est un cap que Dieu garde lui-meme'), hoping for his redemption. Her problematic relationship with would-be husband Magnus (Act 1 duet 'Pourquoi, Magnus, seul avec moi') is dominated by his fears that she doesn't really love him. Minna's merchant father Barlow--arriving as in Wagner after a time away at sea--sings to her a self-justifying credo ('Ces doux talismans que j'aime') about riches and the suitability of a stranger (posing as a Swedish captain) to be her husband. And when the wedding of Minna and Troi'l is announced, a celebratory sailors' choral battle takes place, with the locals scared off by the lyrics and sound of the ghostly visitors. …

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