Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wagner e Ibsen: "O Holandês Voador" (sinopse)

Wagner insisted that the legend of the Flying Dutchman was essentially Germanic, though the first accounts of this legendary tale were written in English, and its origins probably relate to Anglo-Dutch colonial rivalries in the 17th century. En route to the East Indies, a Dutch sea-captain - in most versions called Vanderdecken, in Wagner's opera awesomely nameless - cursed God while struggling to round the Cape of Good Hope during a ferocious storm, and swore he would complete his voyage, even if it took him until Judgment Day. Satan took him at his word and condemned the Dutchman to sail until the end of time: his ship, crewed by the reanimated corpses of his former sailors, brings ill-luck to any mariner who sees it. The superstition endured well into the 20th century: there were supposed sightings of the Dutchman's ship off the South African coast as late as 1942. But it was in the early 19th century that the legend was wildly popular. Flying Dutchman plays were performed across Europe, and in 1839 - the year Wagner reached London - Captain Frederick Marryat's creepy Dutchman novel The Phantom Ship was a bestseller.
Freeing the Dutchman from his curse soon became integral to the legend, though the means of redemption differ from version to version. Marryat's Vanderdecken finds salvation when he kisses a fragment of Christ's cross that his long-dead wife once wore in a locket.
Wagner, however, took as his principal source Heinrich Heine's From the Memoirs of Herr Schnabelewopski, published in 1834, which introduces the definitive variant. The Dutchman is permitted to come ashore once every seven years, during which the curse will be lifted if he finds a wife capable of being "faithful unto death". Heine, German literature's great ironist, intended his version to be a spoof: finding marriage hideous, his Dutchman is always glad to escape by putting to sea for another seven years.
Wagner, however, treats the idea with deadly seriousness, and also invests the curse with ramifications of alarming complexity. Like Heine's, his Dutchman is cast ashore every seven years to seek his redeeming partner. Any woman who breaks her oath of fidelity, however, is damned for eternity; and should the Dutchman never find redemption, then he in turn will be annihilated, body and soul, on Judgment Day.
The opera dramatises the Dutchman's last incursions to land, where he encounters Senta, the daughter of a Norwegian merchant seaman. Senta obsessively believes herself appointed by destiny to be the Dutchman's redeemer. The curse is lifted when, wrongly accused of infidelity, she drowns herself as he despairingly casts off to sea yet again.

No comments:

Post a Comment