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After a decade's absence, 'Dutchman' returns to the Met

Deborah Voigt was seated in a chair when she started to sing, the first notes of her first Senta at the Metropolitan Opera.

And just like that in the second act, she transformed what had been a routine opening night of Wagner's "Die Fliegende Hollaender" into a memorable revival at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday.

Voigt is noted for her German characters - this was her fifth Wagner role at the house. There was some slight tentativeness in her high notes early, but she warmed up and grew stronger as the night went on, ending with a shimmering cry as she jumped to her death in the sea. Her low notes were strong throughout, her diction excellent and her passion powered the evening.

As the story goes, the Dutchman returns to shore every seven years, seeking a woman whose love will redeem him and end the curse that causes him to roam. This time, the 1989 August Everding production had been absent from the Met for a decade.

Voigt was joined by tenor Stephen Gould, who made his company debut as Erik; bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo (the Dutchman); and bass Hans-Peter Koenig (Daland).

Gould, tall and burly, had a bright sound and showed great promise but sounded tired by the final scene. Koenig was sonorous and compelling. Uusitalo conveyed the Dutchman's world-weariness, but his voice lacked a certain richness of color.

Everding's production, with what seems to be a huge container ship, looks more industrial than mythological.

All in all, it was a satisfying evening that rose when Voigt commanded the stage.

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