Having recently said a sad farewell to our 21-year-old Sony XBR TV and acquired a spiffy new Smart TV, with blu-ray player to match, I thought I'd begin stocking up on blu-ray opera productions.
So I went a-browsing on the internet for a blu-ray version of Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman, which concerns a ship cursed by Satan to roam the world's seas for eternity, or until the captain can find a true woman.
OK, here's one. But the stage setting on the cover illustration looks suspiciously bare and modernistic. Is this a Regietheater production, with the plot all twisted round into a Cultural Marxist allegory and topped up with gratuitous sex'n'violence?
It sure seems like it from the reviews.
There are no longer sailing ships sailing the seven seas for years at a time - ship navigation, seafaring and commerce are all very different now, so if you think about it in modern terms, it shouldn't really be surprising to see shipping in terms of cruises and ferries, the Dutchman here arriving on a Norwegian ferry, his crew asylum seekers, looking for a homeland, a place to settle after a lifetime of being tossed around as refugees on the seas of conflict and revolution. It shouldn't be difficult either to consider the arrival of these figures being perceived as a threat to those who enjoy a comfortable western bourgeois lifestyle.
"Asylum seekers" is Eurospeak for "illegal immigrant." So the Dutchman and his crew are not, after all, doomed souls under Satan's curse, seeking redemption. They are only undocumented mariners. Who knew?