OperaUpClose’s radically reimagined version of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer, 1843) will premiere at Turner Sims concert hall in Southampton in June, the Southampton-based touring company has announced.

The new production has been developed in partnership with Manchester Camerata. It has been some years in the making, with OperaUpClose first announcing details at the end of 2020; it was originally slated to premiere in 2022. This is the first time the company has staged an opera by Wagner.

Wagner’s original, with a German libretto by the composer, was based on the Dutch legend of the Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship doomed to sail the seven seas forever. Wagner took the story from German writer Heinrich Heine’s retelling of the legend in his 1833 satirical novel The Memoirs of Mister von Schnabelewopski (Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopski).

OperaUpClose’s new version of The Flying Dutchman has been reimagined for the 21st century. It features an English-language libretto by poet and novelist Glyn Maxwell, with a brand new orchestration for four singers and an eight-piece chamber ensemble devised by award-winning composer Laura Bowler.

Based on an original concept by director Lucy Bradley, the new production depicts an island nation struggling with its identity in a world of displaced people. This retelling of Wagner’s epic fable is a haunting political tale exploring the psychology and realities of living on an island with hardening borders.

It features recordings of community choirs from across the UK alongside a cast of internationally renowned opera singers and players, all under the baton of conductor Timothy Burke.

The Flying Dutchman will receive its world premiere at Southampton’s Turner Sims on 28 June. The performance starts at 7.30pm. Two further performances take place at the same time on 30 June and 1 July; the 30 June show also includes a pre-show talk at 6.30pm.

Tickets for all performances are on sale now; standard tickets cost £25, with student and under 18 tickets costing £15. OperaUpClose operates a ‘pay it forward’ scheme allowing those who can afford it to pay extra for a ticket, this is then used to subsidise tickets for those for whom ticket prices are a barrier to attending opera. These tickets cost £35.

These performances will be followed by a tour to locations across the UK in summer. Further details of venues, dates and how to book will be announced shortly.



OperaUpClose’s reimagined version of Wagner’s epic opera The Flying Dutchman will premiere at Turner Sims, Southampton, in June.