★★★★★ - Irresistible
Sin City Opera and the City of Las Vegas came together to present a synoptic, multi-media premiere operatic presentation of Richard Wagner’s turbulent opera, “A Night with The Flying Dutchman” -- the first-ever Richard Wagner opera production in Las Vegas, on October 25th & 28th at Charleston Heights Arts Center.
Created in 1843 in Germany, and performed in German in 2 Acts, the opera takes place off the coast of Norway during the 18th century. It featured a 14-piece orchestra helmed by Maestro, Dean Balan; staging by Skip Galla, Artistic Director of Sin City Opera; and multi-media video, projections and movies created by Andrew Stephenson Kurcan.
Wagner's operatic masterpiece is haunting. The music is rocked by the sound of waves as soon as the curtain rises. The drama unfolds relentlessly, based on a story that never fails to fascinate, even those who do not believe in legends. Using a number of leitmotivs (musical themes, Wagner takes his audience on an irrational journey where the Dutchman, an otherworldly, supernatural being, seeks Redemption through the love of a faithful woman. It is a breathtaking story of sacrifice, punctuated with raging monologues, dizzying duets, rousing choruses and accompanied by an orchestra that is much more than a background for the voices, acting as a full-fledged player in the drama.
The Dutchman, desperately seeks out love every seven years, and is now in the little fishing village of leading lady, Senta, who must agree to marry him and break-off with her intended Erik, to lift the curse the Dutchman and his ghostly crew have been under for hundreds of years.
The title role was sung by bass-baritone, Eugene Richards III. Eugene has spent the last three years studying with dramatic soprano, Luana DeVol and the past three summers as part of Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices in Reno, NV, in the American Wagner Project division. In 2017 this study of Wagner led to his being selected as 1 of 16 finalists in the Lauritz Melchior International Vocal Competition which took place in Aalborg, Denmark. This summer Eugene participated in The Miami Music Festival in their Wagner program where he covered Alan Held as Wotan in Die Walküre & sang King Heinrich in Lohengrin.
“The American Wagner Project has been amazing for me. The three weeks I’ve spent there the past few years, allow me to fast forward my progress. I leave every summer a more confident and complete artist. The level of coaching is incredible and the artists it attracts are unparalleled. Luana’s and Dolora's support has opened many doors for me that I know would have remained closed otherwise. I can't thank them enough for what they've done for me,” stated Eugene.
His musicality and ability to learn quickly, coupled with a noble, bass baritone voice have won him recognition. Awards include scholarships from New York based Career Bridges as well as the Wagner Society of Washington, D.C.
The role of leading lady, Senta, was sung by dramatic soprano, Rebecca Morris. Her rich, powerful sound and commanding stage presence, accompanied by an impressive range, have made her a stand out in the Verdi and Wagner repertoire. Rebecca has spent most of her career singing the Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano repertoire, but has recently transitioned into the Dramatic Soprano roles. She attended Northern Arizona University on a vocal scholarship, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She is also a graduate of the Crittenden Opera Studio, The Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute, The Opera Academy of California, The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and The Flagstaff in Fidenza Program in Fidenza, Italy. She has sung in numerous Productions with Phoenix Opera, Arizona Opera, Sin City Opera and Opera Las Vegas.
Born of a desire to train young dramatic singers and help them reach the world stage, the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices is the brainchild of Dolora Zajick, Rosemary Mathews, and Sarah Agler. It is an innovative 3-week intensive summer program of study for singers ages 15–36, with large or unusual voices, at varying levels of vocal development. The Institute’s carefully selected experts from across the industry work in close collaboration not only with the students, but also with each other, to provide a solid foundation of skills a professional singer really needs to embark on and survive a successful operatic career.
In 2013, the Institute developed a partnership with the Wagner Society of Washington D.C. The result is the American Wagner Project offering role study, German language diction, and specialized coaching and classes for future Wagnerian singers as well as presenting annual Wagner concerts in Washington and a series of symposia.
Sin City Opera is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Las Vegas that serves the residents and visitors of the Las Vegas area.