• Step into the Design Vision of THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

    By COC Staff

    Stepping ashore for its first trip to the COC since 2010, Richard Wagner’s monumental opera The Flying Dutchman returns this season to intrigue audiences with its striking visuals, stormy music, and haunting ghost story.

    Wagner’s monumental opera explores love, loss, and redemption in the legendary tale of a sailor cursed to the seas for eternity unless he finds pure and true love. The production’s original creative team of director Christopher Alden and designer Allen Moyer weave an awe-inspiring visual web, pulling from the aesthetic of German Expressionism, evoking early cinema, and creating a mysterious, psychological atmosphere in bringing Wagner’s feverish, Romantic score to life. Ahead of the Dutchman’s return, explore the show’s fascinating visuals, costumes, props, and wigs!

    Join us for opening night on Friday, October 7!


    Tony Award-winning designer Allen Moyer imparts a painterly quality to the early 20th-century setting for this production, casting a stylistic fog over the staggering set and creating an eerie atmosphere that follows the Dutchman on land. Placed at a steep angle, the “double-raked” stage evokes a dramatic off-kilter feeling of a ship deck in rough waters. Colourful lighting design from Anne Militello casts supernatural hues across the on-stage action, punctuating each dramatic moment with shades of blue, yellow, and green.

    On both ship and land, the show uses relatively few props to populate its gloomy surroundings. Indeed, the bulk of the props consist of 30 wooden chairs, each custom-made for the original production back in 1996. Though the staging call for performers use these chairs a lot, at times roughly, very little maintenance or replacements have been required over the years. The many metal tankards, meanwhile, have been swung and slammed about by choristers, necessitating a long series of reinforcements. 

    However, if there’s a prop that stands out as the most notable in this production, it is the painted portrait of the Dutchman. It’s the picture that inspires Senta’s fascination with the legend and kicks the story into gear.

    Bringing the Dutchman’s crew and Senta’s village to life requires a lot of work from our Costumes team, who prepare 119 costumes for appearance on stage throughout the show. Outfitting the many characters and choristers includes working on 25 different hats for the women in the wedding scene, 25 pairs of fitted (and painted green) ladies’ shoes, and dozens of raincoats that require sourcing and maintenance with each new run. Our Wigs & Make-Up team, meanwhile, stay busy as well as they ready more than 60 performers’ hair and makeup looks before the curtain rises for each performance. Through their combined efforts, the teams produce a remarkably detailed world that brings to life one of opera’s greatest legends.

    Witness Wagner's first great masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman, opening Friday, October 7, 2022. The show runs October 7, 9, 13, 15, 19, 21, and 23. 

    Tickets on sale now!

    Photos (2-4): Michael Cooper
    Posted in 22/23 Season


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