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?