|El Holandés||Bryn Terfel*|
|Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa|
|Coro de Ópera de Bilbao|
|Music Director||Pedro Halffter|
|Scene Director||Guy Montavon|
|Scenographer and costumes||Hank Irwin Kittel*|
|Light designer||Guy Montavon|
|Bilbao Opera Chorus Director||Boris Dujin|
|EASO Chorus Director||Gorka Miranda Blanco|
|*Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera|
After an overture depicting a terrible storm, we see how Daland finally manages to moor his ship to seek refuge from the violence of the tempest. When he goes ashore, he realizes that, in fact, he is very close to his home. They all retire to rest except the helmsman, who sings to his beloved while he is on watch. He falls asleep and therefore does not notice the appearance of the Flying Dutchman’s ship nearby. Seven years have passed since the sailor was last on shore and he is free again to find a faithful woman who redeems him from his curse. He has unsuccessfully tried to get pirates or storms to bring his life to an end and the only thing he wishes for is salvation or death.
Daland leaves his cabin and reprimands the helmsman for not having fulfilled his duty of ensuring the crew’s safety. He questions the Dutchman, who finds out that Daland’s home is nearby and asks him for hospitality, promising to pay him generously with the jewels he shows him. When Daland tells him that he has a daughter, the Dutchman asks him to let him marry her.
Daland is surprised by this sudden proposal but he is so impressed by the stranger’s wealth that does not hesitate to accept him as a potential son-in-law, while the Dutchman hopes that Daland’s daughter will become the person who will finally manage to free him from his curse. A southern wind starts to blow and the ships are able to return to sea. The sailors start working merrily and think of the joy of returning home.
In the second act, in a large room in Daland’s house, Senta is sitting, crestfallen, apart from the other girls who are singing while they spin. She dreamily gazes upon a portrait which hangs on the wall. Mary, her housekeeper, tries to distract her while the other girls tease her and tell her that her suitor, Erik the huntsman, will be jealous. Senta then sings the ballad of the Flying Dutchman, which tells how, after facing a storm, the sailor once swore that he would manage to round the cape even if it took him forever. Satan took it literally and he was sentenced to roam the sea forever unless he could find a woman who would show faithfulness until death. The girls repeat Senta’s prayer so that the sailor may soon find rest and redemption. She expects to be the woman chosen to save him. Erik happens to hear her plea that an angel may lead him to her soon.
The news of the arrival of the ship makes all the girls run to greet the young sailors, but Erik stops Senta, who is looking forward to seeing her father, and begs her to marry him before her father returns to sea. When she dodges the proposal, he blames her for being obsessed with the portrait. Erik remembers a dream in which he saw Daland return from a voyage accompanied by a stranger who looked like the man in the portrait. In his dream, Senta hugged the stranger and they both disappeared in the sea. However, the only effect that this story has on Senta is to convince her that the Flying Dutchman has come to look for her.
The rejected Erik leaves and Daland arrives with the Dutchman, who Senta recognizes with a scream, virtually ignoring her father, who is baffled by the lack of a greeting. He introduces the stranger to his daughter, stressing the fact that he has no home and that he is very rich and asks her to be hospitable to him, although it is not long before he offers him to her as her fiancé. Senta and the Dutchman do not say a word and Daland decides to go so as to leave them alone. They gaze at each other, deep in their own thoughts, and they both feel that this it is the moment they had been waiting for. The Dutchman asks if she agrees to marry him and she accepts, promising to be faithful to him until death. When Daland returns, they swear fidelity to each other in his presence.
In the third act, again on the rocky coast, the Norwegian sailors are singing and dancing, while complete silence reigns on the Dutchman’s ship, moored nearby. The Norwegian girls bring food and drink and also offer them to the crew of the foreign ship, but they receive no answer. The Norwegian sailors suggest, jokingly, that it must be the Flying Dutchman’s ship and start making fun of the silent crew. Suddenly, the Dutchman’s ship becomes the focus of a storm and the ghostly sailors awake, mocking the Norwegians when they take shelter under deck terrified.
Senta appears, followed by Erik, who reproaches her for having broken her fidelity to him. She answers that she had never promised to marry him. When the Dutchman hears this, he fears that Senta may be unable to be faithful to him and says goodbye to her, although he assures her that she will undergo no curse, unlike other women who had been unfaithful to him before. The Dutchman calls his sailors for them to prepare the ship to set sail and when Senta tries to stop him, he tells her who he really is and what his fate is. She replies that she already knows and assures him that she will be the one who will save him. Her friends try to hold her back when the Dutchman goes onto his ship, but she managers to escape and throws herself into the sea, stating that she has been faithful until death. The ship sinks and the ghostly figures of the Dutchman and Senta can be seen ascending to heaven from the deck of the ship, embraced and transfigured.