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The Boston Globe


Boston Lyric Opera to stage Wagner’s vast ‘Dutchman’

Wagner nights have been scarce in these parts since the grand Boston Opera House was demolished in 1958. True, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other local ensembles have given memorable concert performances of Richard Wagner’s complete operas (and excerpts) in recent years. Just a few weeks ago, the BSO presented a program of orchestral and vocal chunks torn from five different Wagner operas.

As true Wagner-philes know, however, there is no substitute for seeing the works in staged form, with sets, costumes, wigs, spears, dragons, and stormy Nordic skies. The problem is that most of Wagner’s operas are big — really, really big — and require an appropriately sized theater with a large stage and orchestra pit. A big budget also helps. Despite its many musical charms, our fair city does not now possess that sort of facility, or, since the demise of Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston, that kind of budget. More than 20 years have passed since the last staged production of a Wagner opera, which was also “The Flying Dutchman,” given by Boston Lyric Opera in the 1989-90 season. But things might be changing.

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