The Flying Dutchman

Past Production

The Dutchman is doomed to wander the seas until he can find a faithful wife. A sailor’s daughter is doomed to an arranged marriage, but can’t shake her obsession with The Dutchman. Can true love change the course of their fates?

This new production brings the ancient ghost story to the stage in a new and modern way to delight audiences with stunning visuals.

General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun will direct this never-before-seen grand production. Music Director Arthur Fagen will conduct. Jay Hunter Morris reprises his role as Erik, Wayne Tigges will sing the title role of the Dutchman, and Melody Moore, last seen on the main stage in 2012 as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, is Senta.

Performed in German with English supertitles

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

This production of The Flying Dutchman is sponsored in part by the Gramma Fisher Foundation.

Additional support provided by Dr. & Mrs. Alexander Gross, and The Home Depot Foundation.



All Performances: Pre-show fine dining
$55 for Sat, Tues, Fri dinner
$42.50 for Sun brunch

Opera’s Night Out

Friday, Nov 10: Young professionals enjoy a pre-show cocktail hour + ticket to the show
$40 for Under 40

Student Rush Tickets

All Performances: Students with ID may purchase discount tickets two hours in advance at the Cobb Energy Centre
$25 – 35 per seat

Final Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, Nov 2: Teachers with students may attend the final dress rehearsal for FREE
Apply here


All Performances: Save up to 25%
For groups of 10 or more

Get the Feeling of the Show

Pre-Opera Talk by Carter Joseph


Composer: Richard Wagner
Librettist: Richard Wagner
Premiere Date: January 2, 1843

A raging storm from which the Dutchman’s theme emerges. As the storm calms, Senta’s peaceful theme is played on woodwinds and horns.

Act I – A rocky seacoast
Daland’s ship has dropped anchor, and as they furl the sails, the Norwegian sailors chant Hohohe! Hallohe! Daland, who has been ashore to reconnoiter, appears to announce they have been blown seven miles off course. He tells the crew to get some rest. As the Steersman keeps watch, he sings of seeing his girlfriend again after surviving the terrible storm (Mit Gewitter und Sturm — Through thunder and storm). He falls asleep.

Once more the storm begins to rage and a red-sailed ship, the “Flying Dutchman”, appears. In silence the sails are furled and its captain, the Dutchman, comes ashore. In a long monologue (Die Frist ist um — The time is up), he explains how a curse has forced him to sail continuously, able to come ashore only once every seven years to seek redemption. He has often sought death by plunging into the sea or driving onto reefs but to no avail. Was the angel who won him a means of deliverance only mocking him? His only hope is the coming of the Day of Judgment.

Daland, from the deck of his ship, sees the Flying Dutchman, hails its master, and asks if his ship was also damaged in the storm. The Dutchman tells him a little of his story and offers Daland a rich treasure if he will shelter him in his home. He then asks if the Norwegian captain has a daughter. When the answer is in the affirmative the Dutchman asks if she might be his wife, offering all of his treasure in return. Daland greedily agrees. When the weather permits, the two ships sail off toward Daland’s home.

Act II – Daland’s house
The wall is dominated by a large portrait of a pale man with a dark beard and in black clothes. A group of young women spin and sing of their lovers’ return (Summ und Brumm — Whir and whirl). Senta, Daland’s daughter, sits dreamily to one side and gazes at the picture. Mary, Senta’s nurse, asks her to join the group, but she does not hear. When the other girls tease her about being in love with the handsome young hunter Erik, she finally reacts and angrily tells them to stop their stupid song. She asks Mary to sing the ballad of the Dutchman, but the nurse refuses. Senta sings it herself, and we learn more of the story of the Dutchman. Desperately attempting to round a cape during a storm, he had cursed and sworn, “In all eternity I’ll not give up!” Satan heard, took him at his word, and doomed him to sail on forever. An angel took pity on him and promised redemption if he could find a wife willing to die for him. Senta cries out that she wants to be that wife.

Erik appears, having overheard her last outburst, and is terrified for her. He announces that Daland’s ship is approaching. He pleads with Senta to overcome her infatuation and relates a dream in which he saw two men on shore, her father and a stranger, the Dutchman (Auf hohen Felsen lag ich träumend — I lay dreaming on the lofty crag). He saw Senta throw herself at the Dutchman’s feet, ardently kiss him and sail out to sea with him. Senta hears nothing, she is mesmerized by her vision. Erik rushes off in horror.

Daland and the Dutchman enter and her father bids Senta make the Dutchman welcome. She recognizes him as the man in the picture and, while Senta and the Dutchman stare at each other, Daland tells his daughter of the stranger’s offer, showing her the jewels he has been given (Mögst du, mein Kind — Would you, my child). Seeing that the two are interested only in each other, Daland leaves. In a long duet, both express wonder in the fulfillment of their dreams. Senta tells him she is always obedient to her father; she will marry him and hopes to be the means to his redemption. He tries to warn her of the danger she faces, but she is adamant; she will save him. Daland returns to ask if the welcome home feast can be combined with a betrothal. Once more Senta vows to be true until death.

Act III – A bay with a rocky shore with the two ships and Daland’s house in the background 
The sailors on Daland’s ship are celebrating (Steuermann, lass die Wacht — Steersman, leave your watch), but the Flying Dutchman is dark and silent. As the girls and women arrive with food and drink, they call to the dark ship offering them some refreshment. When there is no answer, the men remark on the resemblance between the strange ship and that of the Dutchman, telling the girls not to wake the crew members for they are ghosts. The townspeople finally give up and start to feast. Soon there are signs of stirring on the Dutchman’s ship and, although it is calm everywhere else, a storm comes up around it. Its ghoulish crew sings of the curse and asks if the captain is back with a wife. The two groups of sailors start a singing match, but the Norwegians give up and, making the sign of the cross, leave their ship. The Dutch crew laughs and then falls silent.

Senta runs from the house followed by Erik. How could she forget her vow to him and pledge herself to someone she has never met? She tries to make him stop (she is obeying a higher duty), but he reminds her of the day she swore her eternal faith to him (Willst jenes Tag du nicht mehr entsinnen — Don’t you remember that day…). The Dutchman overhears and, thinking her promise to him was not sincere, cries out despairingly that he is lost. He says farewell and orders his crew to make ready to sail. Senta tries to stop him, but he releases her from her vow. He tells her he is saving her from an awful fate; he is the “Dutchman” (Erfahre das Geschick — Learn the fate). If she had sworn before God she would be damned, but as she only swore to him, she is free to break her vow. But Senta has known his story all along. As Erik and the others plead with her, she throws herself into the sea crying, “Hier steh´ ich treu dir bis zum Tod!” (Here I stand, faithful to you until death). The Flying Dutchman sinks and Senta and the Dutchman are seen rising to Heaven in each other’s arms.

Courtesy of San Diego Opera’s Operapaedia

Newbie Guide

The Opera Experience

Operas on our mainstage are grand theatrical experiences. You can always expect the unexpected, and for our productions to be presented at the highest quality.


Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

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Arriving in Good Time

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Enhance Your Visit

Pre-Performance Talk

Learn about the history of the opera, the composer, and more from artists and opera aficionados. One hour prior to curtain. Free with your ticket!

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Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Visit our Study Guides Library

How is an Opera Staged?


Actors first audition for roles up to a year in advance, or for more experienced artists, directors also invite them to play a role.


Most of the rehearsals are held in our rehearsal hall, and not the actual theatre. The conductor begins orchestra rehearsals about a week and half before opening night. They have four rehearsals with the conductor, and then the singers are added into the mix.

Sets & Costumes

The Atlanta Opera Costume Shop alters the costumes to fit our singers. Sometimes they do have to make costumes if there aren’t enough, or if there is nothing that fits, etc. Once the sets are in place, the cast begins rehearsing at the theatre. The Opera production staff works with staff at the theatre to get all of the lighting and technical aspects of the production together.

Sitzprobe & Dress Rehearsal

The orchestra comes together with the singers in a special rehearsal called sitzprobe. There are no costumes during the sitzprobe, this is mainly to hear the voices with the orchestra. There is a piano dress rehearsal, when the singers rehearse in full costume for the first time so they can get used to wearing them. Finally, all of the pieces are put together for two full dress rehearsals leading up to opening night.

Characters & Cast

The Dutchman

Ghost Captain cursed to roam the seas and only come ashore once every seven years to find a wife.

Wayne Tigges

Quickly establishing himself as one of the bright young stars in opera today, Wayne Tigges has sung at many of the great opera houses of the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Paris Opera.


Daland’s daughter whose interest in the Flying Dutchman grows into obsession.

Melody Moore

American soprano, Melody Moore, “has a vulnerability that is heartbreaking to watch” and a “rich, mellow tone” that is “achingly intense” according to critics writing of her performances from Hawaii to London.


A huntsman, Erik is the former boyfriend of Senta and still pines for her love.

Jay Hunter Morris

A veteran of the operatic and concert stages, Morris’ 2016-17 season began with a revival of one of his greatest roles, including Captain Ahab in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick at the Dallas Opera.


A sea captain and Senta’s father.

Kristinn Sigmundsson

Lauded by the Financial Times for “His tone dark and his dynamic range…all reinforced by a trace of gravitas,” Icelandic bass Kristinn Sigmundsson makes his Atlanta Opera debut as Daland.

Costume & Set Design


Richard Wagner
(1813 – 1883)

Richard Wagner molded opera according to his own creative definition with revolutionary zeal. Consequently, his innovations in melodic structure, harmony, characterization and orchestration have inspired awe among audiences and music professionals alike for over a century. Impressionist and expressionist composers have spent most of this century struggling to overcome his influence, rebelling against him. Wagner was a man who lived in capital letters and bold print, a study in superlatives: huge creative canvases, legendary feuds and hatreds, gigantic depressions and losses, enormous successes, and passionate romantic liaisons. His music represents the dynamic and incandescent final flowering of romanticism.

Egocentric from childhood, Wagner began at age twenty to record details of his personal and creative life in a series of journals, all in anticipation of drafting an extensive autobiography in later life. He never seems to have doubted his destiny or his own titanic genius. At first, Wagner fancied himself a writer and planned a career in the literary world, drafting a ghoulish drama, Leubald  which killed off forty-two characters in the first four acts, with some returning as ghosts in the fifth.


Arthur Fagen


Arthur Fagen has been the Carl and Sally Gable music director at The Atlanta Opera since 2010, and continues to be in great demand as a conductor of symphony and opera both in Europe and the United States. He is a regular guest at the most prestigious opera houses, concert halls, and music festivals at home and abroad, and his career has been marked by a string of notable appearances including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Staatsoper Berlin, Munich State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the New York City Opera.

A former assistant of Christoph von Dohnanyi (Frankfurt Opera) and James Levine (Metropolitan Opera), he served as principal conductor in Kassel and Brunswick, as chief conductor of the Flanders Opera of Antwerp and Ghent, as music director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the conducting staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Fagen was born in New York and studied with Laszlo Halasz, Max Rudolf (Curtis Institute) and Hans Swarowsky. Fagen has an opera repertoire of more than 75 works and has recorded for Naxos and BMG. The recent Naxos recording of Martinůs works was awarded Editor’s Choice in the March 2010 issue of Gramophone Magazine.

Production Director

Tomer Zvulun


General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Tomer Zvulun is also one of opera’s most exciting stage directors, earning consistent praise for his creative vision, often described as cinematic and fresh. His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, the opera companies of Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, Boston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Buenos Aires, Wexford, New Orleans, Minnesota and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston University, and IVAI in Tel Aviv. His debut in New York was in a new production of L’heure espagnole and Gianni Schicchi at Juilliard Opera Center that was praised by The New York Times for its “witty, fast-paced staging and the director’s Felliniesque style.”

Known for creating innovative, visually striking new interpretations for standard operas as well as championing new works by contemporary composers, his work has been seen internationally in Europe, South and Central America, Israel, and the US. Recently he created critically acclaimed new productions of Semele (Seattle Opera) Lucia di Lammermoor (Seattle, Atlanta, Cleveland), La bohème (Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Atlanta), Lucrezia Borgia (Buenos Aires), Gianni Schicchi (Juilliard, IVAI Tel Aviv), L’heure espagnole (Juilliard), The Magic Flute (Cincinnati, Atlanta, Indiana University), Don Giovanni (Wolf Trap, Cincinnati), Die Fledermaus (Dallas, Kansas City), Falstaff (Wolf Trap, Des Moines), Rigoletto (Boston, Atlanta, Omaha), Madama Butterfly (Atlanta, Castleton Festival), Tosca (National Theatre Panama, Atlanta) and Dialogues of the Carmelites (IVAI Tel Aviv), among many others.