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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Dutchman’ seeks love in new production

    Arizona Operas production of The Flying Dutchman chronicles the tribulations of an outcast Dutchman. Performances will run tomorrow through Sunday at Tucson Music Hall.
    Arizona Opera’s production of ‘The Flying Dutchman’ chronicles the tribulations of an outcast Dutchman. Performances will run tomorrow through Sunday at Tucson Music Hall.

    Opera singer Kristopher Irmiter once saw the slogan of an opera company that read, “”Opera is better than you think. We have to be.””

    And while living in a fast-paced society engrossed with television, Irmiter could not find the phrase to be more true.

    “”We do have to be better than you think,”” Irmiter said. “”Simply because we would not exist.””

    As he does in every production, Irmiter will pursue his mission of having people give opera a try in his most recent role in Arizona Opera Company’s “”The Flying Dutchman,”” in which he plays the Dutchman himself.

    Irmiter describes his character as “”eternally dead,”” although he is not actually deceased. Having been sentenced to sea, he can only retain salvation by finding the woman of his dreams ashore, an opportunity he has only every seven years.

    “”It’s about imagining you are in this hopeless cycle. That is sort of at the core of the Dutchman,”” Irmiter said. “”I can relate to that – not to that degree, but we all have to pay our taxes every year,””

    Although the Dutchman is at the end of his rope, so to speak, he ends up meeting his woman this time around. However, even after coming across the romance of a lifetime, he cannot seem to shake his damsel in distress complex. There is another character who also wants his woman, causing the Dutchman to think she is having an affair. How typically male.

    Although the desired woman ends up committing suicide to prove her love and loyalty to the Dutchman, he ends up retaining redemption and salvation.

    “”And that’s the end of the opera,”” Irmiter said. “”We always have a joke: If a person is still alive at the end of the story, then the opera is not over.””

    The music, written by Richard Wagner, will be sung in German. Irmiter is no novice to singing in a foreign language and described the experience as a challenge every time around. German speakers will not be the only ones able to enjoy the production, however, because there will be English surtitles displayed above the stage. On top of conquering the language, Irmiter calls Wagner’s music “”drawn out”” and very demanding.

    “”For a lot of movie operagoers, they might be a little intimidated by Wagner. He can be the epiphany of grand opera,”” Irmiter said. “”But this is the most approachable of Wagner’s opera.””

    This production is especially significant for The Arizona Opera Company in that the company is paying tribute to the late Glynn Ross, who was the general director of the company from 1983 to 1998, by dedicating its 35th season and “”The Flying Dutchman”” performances in his memory.

    “”The Flying Dutchman”” will be performed tomorrow and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s show will be at 2 p.m. All performances will be held at the Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Ticket prices start at $26 but a 20 percent discount is available with a valid school I.D. Student rush tickets are $15 and are available one hour before the performance at the Music Hall box office.

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