The Flying Dutchman


Chen Shi-Zheng directed the early, 1841 version of The Flying Dutchman with the flair that made his production of the 20-hour Chinese opera Peony Pavilion such a hit at the Lincoln Center Festival in 1999. Fantasy grounded in emotion proved the ideal style for a Wagner opera that makes very little sense if played straight.

The Wall Street Journal June 11, 2002

Mr. Chen was the star of the evening. His background in the highly formalized style of Chinese opera is evidently an ideal point of departure for Wagner, whose operas are also laced with myth and symbolism.

       The New York Times June 5, 2002

Wagnerian Visionaries. In Charleston, S.C., Chen Shi-Zheng’s Spoleto Festival rendering of the same work introduced the maker of the Chinese opera production The Peony Pavilion as a creative opera director everyone could like.

                                 The New York Times December 29, 2002

The Year in Review Critics Choice: 10 Best Visionary Operas

An enchanting Dutchman—Director Chen, who is insightful about human nature and remarkably clever in presenting his ideas, took this parable into the realm of timeless fairy tale, where the stylized action was at once subconscious, whimsical and deeply affecting. He designs with a painterly sense: deep, vivid colors in balanced proportions. Every gesture was understated and sensitive to the music.

 The Atlanta Journal June 4, 2002