Stage Door News

Toronto: The Canadian Opera Company presents “The Flying Dutchman” October 7-23

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Canadian Opera Company’s 2022/2023 season kicks off with an early masterpiece from one of the world’s greatest composers, The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner. The haunting sea legend returns to Toronto in a visually arresting production to capture audiences’ imaginations. Legend has it the Flying Dutchman has been cursed to an eternity at sea. His freedom can only come with the finding of true love, so when a local sailor and his daughter Senta encounter the ghostly ship, initial attraction leads to a high-stakes test of devotion. The Flying Dutchman runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on October 7, 9, 13, 15, 19, 21, and 23, 2022.

Canadian revival director Marilyn Gronsdal takes on the original vision from multi-award-winning American director Christopher Alden, framing the action around an imposing, off-kilter ship that heightens tension. American designer Allen Moyer is behind the set’s tilted and twisted landscape, painted with streaks of light and shadow from Los Angeles-based artist and designer Anne Militello. The production’s aesthetic is a nod to German expressionism of the early 20th century and the ghostly nautical feel is further accentuated by sea-battered costumes from Moyer, and pockets of glowing red from Militello that hint at the crew’s underworld origins.

The Flying Dutchman was the first opera that COC Music Director Johannes Debus led after joining the company in 2010 and this fall marks a full-circle moment for the acclaimed conductor. “I was originally supposed to conduct this in 2020, marking my tenth anniversary with the COC,” says Debus. “Of course, because of the pandemic, we’re celebrating a full two years later! But it’s remarkable to think of the journey we’ve all been through and exciting to bring this opera about a famously epic journey back to our audiences. It’s been a true joy exploring opera as COC Music Director and I look forward to seeing where we go next.” Debus will lead the COC Orchestra through Wagner’s feverish Romantic score, with Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leading the COC Chorus.

The production welcomes several cast members back to Toronto, with Danish baritone Johan Reuter taking on the title role, opposite American soprano Marjorie Owens as the young woman infatuated with his legend. The pair last appeared on the COC mainstage with Reuter delivering a “powerful” performance (Globe and Mail) in Wagner’s Die Walküre (2015) and Owens as Puccini’s cold and calculated Princess Turandot (2019).

German bass Franz-Josef Selig and American tenor Miles Mykkanen also return to the COC, following performances in Tristan und Isolde and The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, respectively; this time Selig is Daland, the captain who discovers the Dutchman’s ghostly ship, and Mykkanen brings his “focused, full-voiced tenor” to the role of the Steersman. British tenor Christopher Ventris and mezzo-soprano Rosie Aldridge make COC debuts as the huntsman Erik and Senta’s companion, Mary.

The Flying Dutchman is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.


Single tickets for The Flying Dutchman range from $35 – $250 for adults, with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350, and $22 tickets available for guests between the ages of 16 and 29 through the COC’s Opera Under 30 program. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Four Seasons Centre Box Office at 416-363-8231. For more information on booking student groups, standing room, and rush tickets, as well as other specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, please visit

Photo: Evgeny Nikitin as The Dutchman and Julie Makarov as Senta in the COC’s Flying Dutchman© 2010 Michael Cooper.