MSO pro­vides the drama for Wag­ner’s ‘Fly­ing Dutch­man’

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Tap Daily - Elaine Sch­midt Spe­cial to Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - WIS­CON­SIN

Less be­came more at Fri­day evening’s con­cert per­for­mance of Richard Wag­ner’s opera “The Fly­ing Dutch­man” by the Mil­wau­kee Sym­phony Orches­tra and its mu­sic di­rec­tor lau­re­ate, Edo de Waart.

Sets and cos­tumes for “Dutch­man” of­ten over­whelm the in­ti­mate story and the small ensem­ble cast en­act­ing that story. Light­ing ef­fects de­pict­ing storms at sea of­ten steal the au­di­ence’s at­ten­tion from Wag­ner’s pris­tine, beau­ti­fully lay­ered orches­tral writ­ing.

The MSO’s pro­duc­tion was a dis­til­la­tion of the es­sen­tial el­e­ments of the opera: the mu­sic and the story it tells. The orches­tra was at cen­ter stage, with the soloist on the lip of the stage in con­cert at­tire and the MSO Cho­rus at the back.

Two sail-shaped screens sus­pended above the orches­tra dis­played im­ages de­signed by pro­jec­tion artist S. Katy Tucker and English su­per­ti­tles for the Ger­man li­bretto.

Pre­sented in this spare fash­ion, the opera de­pended en­tirely on De Waart and the per­form­ers for its drama and pathos. It proved to be faith well placed.

The soloists, a su­perbly matched sex­tet, in­ter­acted well and es­tab­lished piv­otal re­la­tion­ships and emo­tions. They gave pow­er­ful solo per­for­mances and beau­ti­fully crafted de­liv­er­ies of ensem­ble num­bers.

Ryan McKinny, as the Dutch­man, moved through an enor­mous range of emo­tions with vo­cal power and con­trol, and a great deal of theatri­cal grace.

Melody Moore’s touch­ing Senta was a breath­tak­ing com­bi­na­tion of sheer power, slic­ing eas­ily through dense or­ches­tra­tions and light-handed lyri­cism, full of soft, float­ing, high pas­sages.

Peter Rose cre­ated a com­mand­ing Da­land, singing with an enor­mous, pow­er­ful sound, con­stant fo­cus and tremen­dous warmth and pres­ence.

AJ Glueck­ert was a be­liev­ably di­men­sional Erik, singing with a clear, ring­ing sound and great emo­tional power.

Nancy Maultsby, as Mary, and Evan LeRoy John­son, as Steuer­mann, gave strong, en­gaged sup­port­ing per­for­mances.

The orches­tra’s cen­ter-stage po­si­tion suited the theatri­cal roles. More than an ac­com­pa­ny­ing ensem­ble, it gave pres­ence and fury to rough seas, set­tled into calm seas and de­picted wrath, fate and more, as though the orches­tra it­self was tak­ing on var­i­ous drama­tis per­sonae.

De Waart and the orches­tra gave a finely honed per­for­mance that was both dis­ci­plined in ensem­ble de­tails and full of the sort of mu­si­cal aban­don Wag­ner de­mands. They soared. Re­peat­edly.

The cho­rus, pre­pared by di­rec­tor Ch­eryl Frazes Hill, gave a pol­ished, facile, en­er­gized per­for­mance.

This Mil­wau­kee Sym­phony Orches­tra per­for­mance will be re­peated at 2:30 p.m. Sun­day in Uih­lein Hall at the Mar­cus Cen­ter for the Per­form­ing Arts, 929 N. Wa­ter St. For ticket in­for­ma­tion, visit or call (414) 273-7206.


Melody Moore and Ryan McKinny sing as the Mil­wau­kee Sym­phony Orches­tra and Cho­rus per­form Richard Wag­ner’s “The Fly­ing Dutch­man” on Fri­day at the Mar­cus Cen­ter.

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