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Opera Colorado builds "Flying Dutchman" production from scratch

Opera Colorado takes us behind the scenes of The Flying Dutchman
Opera Colorado takes us behind the scenes of The Flying Dutchman 01:55

Opera Colorado's production of "The Flying Dutchman" was created from the ground up in about 2 years. The organization wanted to put a new spin on an old classic.

Opera Colorado

In Richard Wagner's opera "The Flying Dutchman," the mythical figure of "The Dutchman" sets foot on land every seven years in search of a faithful wife. If he cannot find a devoted woman, he's doomed to forever sail the seas on a ghost ship.

"The Flying Dutchman" is a powerful libretto.

"The music is astounding. It's strong. It's passionate, but it's extremely beautiful," said Olafur Sigurdarson, the baritone who sings "The Dutchman."

As Opera Colorado looked to develop a new production of this classic opera, director Kathleen smith Belcher wanted to set it in modern day.

"We talked about how do our myths work today? And we were sort of inspired by graphic novels," Smith Belcher told CBS News Colorado.

Opera Colorado

She enlisted the creativity of set designer Alan E. Muraoka.

"I love projects like this," Muraoka said.

From the first sketches, Muraoka designed a world that is a marriage of old and new.

"The look of the whole production has a slightly graphic novel feel to it," Muraoka explained.

A perfect fit for a mythological character coming into a modern-day world. The second act is set at a bar in an unnamed coastal town. There is a giant portrait of "The Dutchman" over the bar back.

"It's very high contrast, bold colors. It's being lit in a very modern way," Muraoka said.

Opera Colorado

Taking a production from sketches to reality requires a deep understanding of the opera and a vision for what it can be.

"I'm very happy with it," Muraoka said.

LINK: For Tickets and Information for "The Flying Dutchman"

Opera Colorado's "The Flying Dutchman" runs February 24 & 27, 2024 as well as March 1 & 3, 2024 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

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