Der Fliegende Holländer

Romantic opera from 1841

Richard Wagner
Composer, Librettist


The Flying Dutchman (German: Der fliegende Holländer), WWV 63, is a German-language opera, with libretto and music by Richard Wagner.

Wagner claimed in his 1870 autobiography Mein Leben that he had been inspired to write the opera following a stormy sea crossing he made from Riga to London in July and August 1839. In his 1843 Autobiographic Sketch, Wagner acknowledged he had taken the story from Heinrich Heine's retelling of the legend in his 1833 satirical novel The Memoirs of Mister von Schnabelewopski (Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopski). The central theme is redemption through love.

Wagner conducted the premiere at the Semper Oper in Dresden in 1843. This work shows early attempts at operatic styles that would characterise his later music dramas. In Der fliegende Holländer Wagner uses a number of leitmotifs (literally, "leading motifs") associated with the characters and themes. The leitmotifs are all introduced in the overture, which begins with a well-known ocean or storm motif before moving into the Dutchman and Senta motifs.

Wagner originally wrote the work to be performed without intermission – an example of his efforts to break with tradition – and, while today's opera houses sometimes still follow this directive, it is also performed in a three-act version.

Year 1841
Opening Night 1843
Time Period Romantic
Opus WWV 63
Instrumentation Opera orchestra, Opera chorus, Soli


Spinner lied [from] Der fliegende Hollñder
Kunkel Bros. (mou) 1881
Der Fliegende Holländer: Overture
Ernst Eulenburg & Co. GmbH 2010
Voss, et al.
Der Fliegende Holländer
Ernst Eulenburg & Co. GmbH 2013
Voss, et al.
The Spinning Chorus
Novello & Company 1841
When the Nor-Nor-Easters blow
Paterson's Publications 1841
Diack, et al.


Der Fliegende Holländer Operhaus Zürich 2013
Neben dem Schoner des norwegischen Seefahrers Daland legt in der Bucht von Sandwike ein gespenstisches ...
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