Flying Dutchman to sail Cape of Storms

Come January, 2011, Cape Town will again be in the grip of a storm. The Flying Dutchman, Richard Wagner’s theatrical opera, will be staged at Artscape Opera.

It will be presented by the Richard Wagner Society as part of the Suidooster Festival.

Two performances, featuring some of the most talented singers South Africa can offer, will take place on Thursday, January 27, and Saturday, January 29, at 19:30.

The romantic, gripping legend of the Dutch sea captain, Van der Decken, who was damned to sail the seas, including those off the Cape of Good Hope, until the end of time unless redeemed by love, will be directed by award-winning Lara Bye. It has not been seen in Cape Town for nearly 20 years and is attracting so much attention internationally that delegations are being sent from Wagner Societies in countries such as Finland and Germany. .

The R1.5 million production will showcase young, gifted singers, says the Richard Wagner Society president, Herbert Glöckner, who has just been presented with the prestigious Golden W award of the international Wagner societies for his mission to develop singers in this country.

“The opera is exciting to stage and promises a fresh approach with electrifying performances against an equally electrifying backdrop. As Senta, we have cast Nkosazana Dimande, whose spectacular voice and acting is enchanting Swedish audiences at the moment, where she is studying on a bursary granted by the royal family. She toured Sweden as Serena in Cape Town Opera’s Porgy and Bess.”

Others in the cast include Sonnyboy Dladla as the Helmsman. Sonnyboy was most recently heard in the role of the Italian tenor in Cape Town Opera’s Der Rosenkavalier. He was selected to sing with and take a master class with Renee Fleming, and returned recently from the Schleswig Holstein festival where he sung the Schubert Mass under the direction of Christopher Hogwood.

Paul Madibeng, who sang the role of Chasseur in Der Rosenkavalier, is singing Daland; baritone Ntobeko Rwanqa who is singing the role of The Dutchman is about to sing Crown and Porgy in Cape Town opera productions in Israel; Mary will be sung by mezzo-soprano Karen van der Walt, and Matthew Overmeyer will sing Erik.

The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Kamal Khan, who brings years of experience at opera houses such as the New York Metropolitan; the Wagner Festival Choir will make it debut.

Director Lara Bye was also responsible for both previous and successful Wagner Society operas, La Serva Padrona and La Scala di Seta. Born in Durban, she studied in Paris and worked in Havana and Barcelona before embarking on a career here that has brought her accolades and awards from the industry, her peers and audiences. Set design will be by Craig Leo, a multi-talented set and costume designer, puppeteer and actor, presenting performing at the National Theatre in London.

The opera is supported by the AIDS Stiftung with the Hope Cape Trust, which focuses on Aids, as the beneficiary.

Tickets at R100, R180 and R220 and student discounts are available from Computicket; premium tickets are also available from the Richard Wagner Society on 021 439 3295 or

Shirley de Kock Gueller
Shirley de Kock and Associates
021 461 1269
Richard Wagner Society of South Africa


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