The Richard Wagner Association (Singapore) has announced the casting of three international leads for “The Flying Dutchman”.
The role of the Dutchman goes to Ukrainian baritone, Oleksandr Pushniak. That of Senta, the woman he hopes may deliver him from an existence of perpetual wandering upon the seas, will be taken by Australian soprano, Kathleen Parker. Erik, the Dutchman’s rival for Senta’s affections, will be played by Jakub Pustina, from the Czech Republic, whose repertoire includes both tenor and baritone roles.
All three were participants in the International Singing Competition for Wagner Voices (in German, Internationaler Gesangswettbewerb für WagnerStimmen) organized by the association linking Wagner societies worldwide, the Richard-Wagner-Verband International (RWVI) and Richard-Wagner-Verband Karlsruhe.
Kathleen Parker says: “When I was approached by the Richard Wagner Association (Singapore) to discuss the possibility of being part of this production, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Senta is one of my favourite roles to sing: “The Flying Dutchman” is a gripping opera from start to finish, with glorious music and a story that lends itself to so many wonderful staging and design possibilities!
I was intrigued, too, at the blending of elements of shadow puppetry and Chinese opera into the production: it has the potential to be very evocative and completely innovative!
Finally, there’s the chance to work in and get to know Singapore: a fascinating and vibrant place. This production is going to be an adventurous world first for Asia, for opera and for Wagner enthusiasts. I’m very excited to be part of it.”
Oleksandr Pushniak says:
“I’ve always dreamed of seeing Asia: a wonderful, beautiful, amazing part of the world. So, here it is – Hong Kong in 2015, and on top of that, the “Dutchman” in Singapore this year! Cool. Great. Exciting! I’m looking forward to being part of an immortal opera in a country of beauty.”
Jakub Pustina adds:
“After my 10 years as a baritone I am now facing a new position as a heldentenor. When I was asked to be part of “The Flying Dutchman” production, my first thought was that it would be impossible. The role of Eric is very complicated both for its interpretation, and for the singing. But the more I sing it, the more I feel like this role is written for me.
The theme is very deep and my role should convince the audience to feel positive about me. It is a very challenging role for me. And I love challenges: they help me to improve and exist. The Wagner music is very specific and beautiful and I look forward to the whole studying process in Singapore, in a beautiful country that I have never been to before. The working process with Alessandra* is very helpful and professional up to now, so I look forward to the next step.”
*Alessandra Althoff-Pugliese is providing vocal coaching to international cast members.
The role of Daland is yet to be filled at time of writing.
RWA(S) president, Juliana Lim, said:
“RWA(S) decided, very early on, to support the larger RWVI mission of promoting young Wagnerian singers by showcasing recent winners or finalists of the triennial WagnerStimmen competition. This collaboration synergised with our own needs, as “The Flying Dutchman” will be the very first fully-staged Wagner opera in Singapore and we do not as yet have a pool of Singapore Wagnerian singers.
We are thrilled to have on board three singers representing Australia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Our Daland is on the brink of being cast and he too will enhance the diversity of talents already on board. We invite everyone to come and support this international production with an Asian slant, by joining our Flying Dutchman Singapore Holiday Experience tour. We will unveil the Asian cast in June when tickets sales start.”
(Article by John Gee, Photos courtesy of singers)