The Netherlands – Flying Dutchman

Netherlands - Flying DutchmanIn 1795, sailors told a story of a Dutch ship that got lost at sea during a horrendous storm. The same ship later wrecked other ships in bouts of ghastly fog. This was the result of captain Bernard Fokke’s behaviour: he was known for the “devilish” speed on his trips from Holland to Java. Some said that Fokke was aided by the Devil…

Another version of the legend starts in 1641 when a Dutch ship sank off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope. The trip to the Far East had been successful and the ship was on its way back home to Holland, so captain Van der Decken was pleased… and failed to notice the dark clouds looming. Only when he heard the lookout scream in terror, he did realise they sailed straight into a heavy storm. Van der Decken and his crew battled for hours to get out of the storm, but then they heard a sickening crunch: the ship had hit a rock and began to sink. As the ship plunged downwards and the captain knew death was approaching, he screamed out a curse: “I will round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until Doomsday!”

Misfortune, greed, and fidelity collide in this storm-battered tale of one man’s quest for life-saving love. Wagner retells the legend of the fearsome Flying Dutchman, cursed to sail the seas until he finds a woman who will love him until death, in his famous opera…