A Ghost Story from the Ocean
Listening: Wagner – Overture to The Flying Dutchman
Overture to the Flying Dutchman – performed by Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Overture to the Flying Dutchman – Full Score
(You don’t have to be able to read the notes on the page. Instead, react to the shapes you see from the notes written on the page).
Opera in Brief: A 2:00 minute quirky but fun summary of the opera
San Diego Opera Talk!: Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman: Documentary on Wagner’s Flying Dutchman
1. What are your overall impressions of the piece? How does it make you feel? Do you like it? Dislike it?
2. Once you’ve learned a little about the piece, go back and listen to one of the recordings above. Did your listening change at all?
3. Try focusing on different aspects of the music such as rhythm (steady or irregular), melody (singable or not singable), texture (block of sound, bursts of sound, dots of sound, or does it sound like a crowded room with everyone talking), or visual (orchestra playing vs watching the score). If you’re unsure about any of these, don’t worry! We will talk about them in more detail.
4. Wagner is best known for his development of the leitmotiv or a tune that represents a character, place, idea, or emotion. See if you can follow these motives as they appear throughout the piece. Do they always sound exactly the same or do they change?
5. Look up 1 fact about Wagner. It can be anything you find interesting.