Richard Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer

Romantic opera in three acts

Richard Wagner

2 January 1843, Dresden (Royal Saxon Court Theatre)

SENTA (Soprano)
ERIK (Tenor)
MARY (Contralto)

sailors from the Norwegian ship, the Flying Dutchman's crew, young women

a Norwegian fishing village

18th century



A steep rocky shore. The sea occupies the greater part of the stage: a wide view over it. Foul weather; a violent storm.
Daland's ship has just cast anchor near the shore; the sailors are noisily occupied in furling the sails, casting ropes, etc. Daland has gone ashore: he climbs a cliff and looks landwards to get his bearings.

at work
Hoyohe! Hoyahe! Halloyo! Ho!

coming down from the cliff
No doubt of it! Seven miles the storm
has driven us off from safe haven.
So near our goal after this long voyage
this trick was saved up for me l

on board, shouting through his cupped hands
Ho! Captain!

How goes it with you on board?

as before
All's well, captain! We have firm moorings.

This is Sandwike: I know the bay well.
‑ Damnation! I saw my house on the shore,
and thought to embrace Senta, my child!
Then came this blast from the depths of hell …
to rely on the wind is to rely on Satan's mercy!
going on board
Ah well! Patience, the storm abates;
so fierce a storm could not lost.
on board
Hey, my lads! You've kept watch a long time:
now get some rest! There's no more to fear!
The sailors go below.
Now, helmsman, will you take the watch for me?
There's no danger, but it'd be better if you kept watch.

Think no more of it! Sleep sound, captain!

Daland goes into his cabin. The helmsman is alone on deck. The storm has somewhat abated and returns on it at sporadic intervals: the waves are still rough on the open sea. The helmsman makes his round once more, then sits down near the rudder.

yawns, then rouses himself as sleep comes over him
Through thunder and storm, from distant seas
I draw near, my lass!
Through towering waves, from the south
I am here, my lass!
My girl, were there no south wind
I could never come to you:
ah, dear south wind, blow once more!
My lass longs for me.
Hoyohel Halloho! Yolohol Hoho!

A wave breaks against the ship, shaking it violently. The helmsman starts up and looks around: having satisfied himself that no harm has been done, he sits down again and sings, while sleep gradually overcomes him.

On southern shores, in distant lands
I have thought of you;
through storm and sea, from Moorish strands
a gift I have brought for you.
My girl, praise the fair south wind,
for I bring you a golden ring;
ah, dear south wind, then blow!
My lass would fain have her gift.
Hoyohe! Halloho!

He struggles with his fatigue and finally falls asleep. The storm begins to rage violently: it grows darker. In the distance appears the ship of the "Flying Dutchman", with blood‑red sails and black masts. She rapidly nears the shore, on the side opposite the Norwegian ship; with a fearful crash she casts anchor. –

Daland's helmsman starts up from his sleep; without leaving his place he glances hastily at the helm and, reassured that no harm has been done, murmurs the beginning of his song "My girl, were there no south wind", and falls asleep again. ‑ Silently, and without the slightest sound, the spectral crew of the Dutchman furl the sails.

The Dutchman comes ashore, wearing black clothing.

The time is up, and once again seven years
have elapsed. The sea, sated, casts me
up on land ... Ha! Haughty ocean!
Shortly you must bear me again!
Your stubbornness can be changed, but my doom is eternal!
Never shall I find the redemption I seek on land!
To you, surging ocean, I remain true
until your last wave breaks
and your last waters run dry! -
How often into ocean's deepest maw
I have plunged longingly;
but alas! I have not found death!
There on the reefs, fearful graveyard
of ships, I have driven my ship;
but ah! the grave would not take me!
Mocking, I challenged the pirate
and hoped for death in fierce affray:
"Here", I cried, "prove your deeds!
My ship is filled with treasure."
But ah! the sea's barbarous son
crossed himself in fear, and fled. –
How often into ocean's deepest maw
I have plunged longingly.
There on the reefs, fearful graveyard
of ships, I have driven my ship:
nowhere a grave! Death never comes!
This is the dread sentence of damnation.
I ask thee, blessed angel from heaven
who won for me the terms for my absolution:
was I the unhappy butt of thy mockery
when thou didst show me the way of release?
Vain hope! Dread, empty delusion!
Constant faith on earth is a thing of the past!
One single hope shall remain with me,
it alone shall stand unshaken:
long though the earth may put out new shoots,
it yet must perish.
Day of Judgment! Day of doom!
When will you dawn and end my night?
When will the blow of annihilation resound
which shall crack the world asunder?
When all the dead rise again,
then shall I pass into the void.
You stars above, cease your course!
Eternal extinction fall on me!

from the ship's hold
Eternal extinction fall on us!

Daland appears on the deck of his ship: he takes the direction of the wind and notices the Dutchman's ship, looking around for the helmsman.

Hey! Holla! Helmsman!

half rising, still dazed with sleep
It's nothing! It's nothing!
To show his wakefulness, he takes up his song.
Ah, dear south wind, blow once more;
my lass ...

shaking him vigorously
You see nothing? ‑You keep fine watch, my lad!
There lies a ship ... how long have you been asleep?

starting up quickly
The devil take it! Forgive me, captain!
He hails the Dutchman's crew.
Ahoy there!
Pause. No reply.
Ahoy there!


It seems they're just
as idle as we are.

Give answer! What ship, and what flag?

who has meanwhile noticed the Dutchman on shore
Let be! I think I see the captain.
Hey! Holla! Seaman! What is your name and country?

after a pause, without changing his position
Far have I come: in storm and tempest
would you deny me anchorage?

God forbid! Sailors know the need
for hospitality. Who are you?

A Dutchman.

going ashore
God give you greeting! So the storm
drove you too on this barren rocky shore?
I fared no better: my home
is but a few miles from here;
nearly there, I had to turn away again. Tell me,
where do you come from? Have you suffered damage?

My ship is safe and took no damage.
Driven on by storms and violent winds,
I have wandered over the oceans –
for how long I can scarcely say:
I no longer count the years.
It's impossible, I think, to name
all the countries where I've been;
the only one for which I yearn
I never find, my homeland!
Grant me the shelter of your house a while,
and you will not regret your friendship.
With treasures from every region and zone
my ship is richly laden; if you will bargain,
you will certainly be the gainer.

How amazing! Can I believe your words?
An unlucky star, it seems, has dogged you till now.
I offer whatever I can do to be of service:
but ‑ may I ask what your ship contains?

making a sign to his crew, two of whom bring a chest ashore
You shall see the rarest of treasures,
precious pearls, costly gems.
he opens the chest
Look here, and convince yourself of the value
of what I offer you for your friendly roof.

looking at the contents of the chest in utter astonishment
What? Is it possible? This treasure?
Who is rich enough to offer a price for it?

The price? I have just named it
this for lodging for a single night!
Yet what you see is but a fraction
of what is stored in my ship's hold.
What good is wealth to me? I have neither wife
nor child, and con never find my native land!
All my riches I offer you, if you
give me a home with you and yours.

What do I hear?

Have you a daughter?

Indeed, a loving child.

Let her be my wife!

joyfully taken aback
What? Do I hear aright? My daughter his wife?
He seems to mean what he says ...
I'm half afraid, if I remain wavering,
he will change his mind.
If I only knew if I were awake or dreaming!
Could there be a more welcome son‑in‑law?
I'd be a fool to let this fortune slip!
With delight I agree.

Ah, I have no wife or child,
nothing to to this earth!
Fate pursues me relentlessly,
with torment as my only companion.
Never shall I reach my home:
what avails the wealth I've won?
If you will consent to this tie,
oh, then take my treasure for your own!

Indeed, stranger, I have a fair daughter,
devoted to me in true filial love;
she is my pride, my most precious possession,
my comfort in sorrow, my joy in happiness.

May she always keep her love for her father;
if true to him, she will be true to her husband too.

You give jewels, priceless pearls,
yet the greatest of treasures, a faithful wife ...

You give to me?

I give you my word.
Your lot moves me; your liberality
indicates a generous and noble heart to me:
I've wanted such a son‑in‑law: even were your wealth
not so great, I would choose no other.

My thanks! Shall I see your daughter today?

The next favourable wind will bring us home:
you shall see her, and if she pleases you ...

She shall be mine ...
Will she be my angel?
If, in the fearful violence of my torment,
longing urges me towards redemption,
am I allowed to cling
to the one hope remaining to me?
Dare I cherish the illusion
that an angel will be moved to pity me
and that, from out the torments which shroud my head,
I have reached my longed‑for goal?
Ah, bereft of hope as I am,
in this hope I still indulge!

I thank the force of the storm
for driving me on to this strand!
In truth, I have but to grasp
what fortune has itself offered me.
You winds who brought him to these shores,
blessings upon you!
Yes, a rich son‑in‑law,
which all fathers seek for, is mine.
Yes, to one so wealthy and open‑hearted
I gladly give my house and daughter!

The storm has completely subsided; the wind has turned round.

on board
South wind! South wind!
"Ah, dear south wind, blow once more!"

waving their caps
Halloho! Hohohe! Halloyo!

You see, fortune favours you
the wind is fair, the sea calm.
Let us weigh anchor forthwith
and gladly sail for home.

weighing anchor and hoisting sail
Hoho! Halloyo!

May I ask you to sail on ahead?
The wind is fresh, but my crew are weary.
I'll let them rest awhile, then follow on.

Yes, but the wind?

It's set to blow from the south!
My ship is swift, and will overtake you.

You think so? Well, so be it!
Farewell! You may yet see my daughter today!

For sure!

going aboard his ship
Hey! How the sails fill out already!
Ho there! Ho there!
he gives a signal on his whistle
Quick, lads, cast off!

exultantly, as they sail away
Through thunder and storm, from distant seas
I draw near, my lass! Hurrah!
Through towering waves, from the south
I am here, my lass! Hurrah!
My girl, were there no south wind
I could never come to you:
ah dear south wind, blow once more!
My lass longs for me.
Hohoho! Yoloho!

The Dutchman goes aboard his ship.


A spacious room in Daland's house.
On the side walls, pictures of sea subjects, maps, etc. On the rear wall the picture of a pale man with a dark beard and in black clothes.
Mary and the girls are seated round the hearth, spinning.
Senta leans back in a high‑backed armchair, her arms folded, sunk in dreamy contemplation of the portrait in the background.

Whir and whirl, good wheel,
gaily, gaily turn!
Spin, spin a thousand threads,
good wheel, whir and whirl!
My love is out there on the seas,
thinking of his dear
at home;
good wheel, roll and roar!
Ah, if you could raise a wind,
he'd soon be here.
Spin, girls,
spin busily!
Whir and whirl,
good wheel!
Tra‑la‑ra la‑la‑la‑la‑la!

Ah, busily, how busily they spin!
Every girl wants to gain a lover.

Dame Mary, hush! For well you know
Our song is not yet done.

Sing then! Let your wheels not rest. –
But Senta, why are you silent?

Whir and whirl, good wheel,
gaily, gaily turn!
Spin, spin a thousand threads,
good wheel, whir and whirl!
My love out on the seas
will earn much gold
in southern lands;
ah, good wheel, roar more!
He'll give it to his dear
if she spins busily.
Spin, girls, spin busily!
Whir and whirl,
good wheel!
Tra‑la‑ra la‑la‑la‑la‑la!

to Senta
You idle girl! If you don't spin
you'll get no present from your lad.

She has no need to hurry;
her lover does not sail the sea.
He brings not gold but game –
we know a hunter's worth!
they laugh

Without changing her position, Senta softly sings to herself a snotch of the ballad which follows

You see her! Always before that picture!
Will you dream away your whole youth
in front of that likeness?

Why did you tell me,
why did you relate to me, who he was?
Poor man!

God help you!

Ei, ei! Ei, ei! What do we hear?
She's sighing for that pallid man!

She's losing her head over him!

You see what a picture can do!

In vain do I chide her every day.
Come, Senta! Turn round this way!

She doesn't hear you ‑ she's in love!
Ei, ei! If only it doesn't lead to trouble,
for Erik is hot‑blooded –
let him do no damage!
Say nothing! Or else in a rage
he'll shoot his rival off the wall.
they laugh

starting up angrily
Be quiet! Would you make me really angry
with your foolish laughter?

interrupting her noisily with comic fervour, meanwhile turning their spinning‑wheels violently and very loudly as if to give Senta no opportunity of scolding them
Whir and whirl! Good wheel,
gaily, gaily turn!
Spin, spin a thousand threads,
good wheel, whir and whirl!

jumping up angrily
O have done with your stupid song,
your whirring and whirling wearies my ears!
If you want me to turn towards you,
search out something better!

Well, you sing yourself!

Hear what I suggest:
Dame Mary shall sing us the ballad.

God forbid! I can't do it!
Leave the flying Dutchman in peace!

Yet how often have I heard it from you!

God forbid! I can’t do it!

I'll sing it myself: listen, girls!
If you will open your hearts to my tale,
the wretch's lot will surely move you!

We agree.

Mark what I say!

Stop the wheels!

I'll spin on!

Having put their spinning‑wheels aside, the girls move their seats nearer to the armchair and group themselves round Senta. Mary remains sitting by the hearth and continues her spinning.

in the armchair
Yohohoe! Yohohohoe! Yohohoe! Yohoe!
Have you seen the ship upon the ocean
with blood‑red sails and black masts?
On her bridge a pallid man,
the ship's master, watches incessantly.
Whee! How the wind howls! Yohohe!
Whee! How it whistles in the rigging! Yohohe!
Whee! Like on arrow he flies on,
without aim, without end, without rest!
Yet there could be redemption one day for that pale man
if he found a wife on earth who'd be true to him till death!
Ah when, pale seaman, will you find her?
Pray Heaven, that soon
a wife will keep faith with him!
Towards the end of the stanza Senta turns to the picture. The girls listen attentively; Mary has stopped spinning.
In raging wind and violent storm
he once sought to round a cape;
he cursed, and in a fit of madness swore,
"In all eternity I'll not give up!"
Whee! And Satan heard! Yohohe!
Whee! And took him at his word! Yohohe!
Whee! And now, accursed, he roams
the seas without end, without rest!
Yet, so that poor man still could find redemption on earth,
God's angel showed him the path to salvation!

Ah, if you could find it, pallid seaman!
Pray Heaven, that soon
a wife will keep faith with him!

The girls are deeply moved. Senta, who already at the second stanza had risen from her chair, continues with ever‑increasing agitation.

At anchor every seventh year,
he goes ashore to seek a wife.
Every seventh year he's wooed,
but never found a faithful wife.
Whee! "Unfurl sail!” Yohohe!
Whee! "Up anchor!" Yohohe!
Whee! "Faithless love, faithless troth!
Off to sea, without end, without rest!"

Senta, overcome by her emotion, sinks back in her chair; the girls, after a pause, continue the song softly.

Ah! Where dwells the maid whom God's angel
once predicted?
Where will you meet the one
who'll be true to you till death?

seized with a sudden inspiration, springs up from her chair
Let me be the one whose loyalty shall save you!
May God's angel reveal me to you!
Through me shall you attain redemption!

starting up in terror
Heaven help us! Senta, Senta!

Erik has entered by the door and has heard Senta's outcry.

Senta! Serial Would you destroy me?

Erik, help us! She's out of her mind!

I feel the blood within me curdle!
Hateful picture, out you shall go,
as soon as her father returns!

Her father is coming!

who has remained where she was, oblivious of everything, starts up joyfully, as if awaking
Father is coming?

From the cliff I saw his ship approaching.

They're home!

beside herself, bustling about
Now see what use your work was!
Nothing in the house is done.

They're home! Hurry, let's away!

detaining the girls
Stop, stop. Stay where you are!
The sailors will come with empty stomachs.
Into the kitchen and cellar, without delay!
Restrain your curiosity a while –first of all to your tasks!

Ah, how much I have to ask him!
I can't restrain my curiosity. ‑
Enough! As soon as they're fed,
no task will keep me here longer.

Mary drives the girls out and follows them.
Senta is also about to leave: Erik detains her.

Stay, Senta! Stay for one moment!
Free me from my torment! Or if you will,
ah, destroy me utterly!

What is to be?

O Senta, say, what is to become of me?
Your father is coming: before he sets off again
he will bring about what he has often intended ...

What do you mean?

To give you a husband.
My heart, faithful until death,
my meagre possessions, my skill as a hunter –
can I sue with these for your hand?
Would your father not reject me?
Then if my heart breaks in anguish,
say, Senta, who will speak for me?

Ah, Erik, no more now!
Let me go and greet my father!
If his daughter does not come aboard, as usual,
is he not bound to be vexed?

You would fly from me?

I must go to the harbour.

You shun me?

Ah, let me go!

Do you flee from these wounds
you dealt me, crazed with love?
Ah, hear me at this moment,
listen to my last request;
if this heart breaks in anguish,
will it be Senta who speaks for me?

What? Do you doubt my heart?
You doubt whether I care for you?
O say, what stirs in you such sorrows?
What darkens your mind with such distrust?

Your father, ah! - he craves only for wealth ...
And you, Senta? How can I count upon you?
Have you granted a single plea of mine?
Do you not grieve my heart each day?

Your heart?

What must I think? ‑That picture ...

The picture?

Can you not end this infatuation?

Can I forbid my eyes to sympathize?

And the ballad ‑ you sang it again today!

I'm but a child, and know not what I sing …
But say, what is it? Do you fear a song, a picture?

You are so pale … say, should I not fear them?

Should that poor man's dreadful lot not move me?

Senta, does my suffering not move you more?

Do not exaggerate! What is your suffering?
Do you know the fate of that unhappy man?
she leads Erik to the picture
Do you feel the grief, the deep sorrow,
with which he looks down at me?
Ah, how that which deprived him of peace for ever
sends a pang of woe through my heart!

Alas! I recall my unhappy dream!
God protect you! Satan has you in his snare!

What appals you so?

Senta! Let me confide in you:
it is a dream! Listen to its warning!

Senta, exhausted, sits down in the armchair; at the beginning of Erik's narration she falls into a trance‑like sleep, so that she appears to be dreaming the dream being related to her. Erik stands at her side, leaning against the chair.

I lay dreaming on the lofty cliff
and watched the surging sea below me;
I heard the breakers, as the force of the waves
dashed them, foaming, against the beach.
I perceived a foreign ship off shore,
strange and mysterious;
two men were approaching on the shore,
of whom one, I saw, was your father.

The other?

I knew him well:
his black attire, his ashen features …

His melancholy eyes ...

pointing to the picture
That seaman there.

And I?

You come out of the house
and flew to greet your father;
but scarcely did I see you reach him
than you threw yourself at the stranger's feet –
I saw you clasp his knees ...

with growing excitement
He raised me up ...

Upon his breast;
ardently you clung to him –
You kissed him in hot longing ...

And then?

looking at her in astonishment, after a pause
I saw you both put to sea.

awaking suddenly, in the utmost rapture
He asks for me! I must see him!
With him I must perish!

Oh horror! This all becomes clear!
She is lost to me! My dream told the truth!

He rushes off in horror.

after her outburst of excitement remains where she is, sunk in silent meditation, her eyes fixed on the portrait: after a pause she sings, softly but with deep emotion, the end of the ballad
Ah! may you find her, pale seaman!
Pray Heaven, that soon
a wife will keep faith ... Ah!

The door opens. Daland and the Dutchman enter. Senta's gaze sweeps from the portrait to the Dutchman: and remains as if spellbound, without taking her eyes off him.

The Dutchman comes slowly forward.

having remained standing at the threshold, comes forward
My child, you see me at the door ...
What? No embrace? No kiss?
You stand rooted to the spot –
Senta, do I deserve such a greeting?

As Daland comes up to her, she grasps his hand.
God give you greeting!
drawing him closer to her
who is this stranger?

Do you press me?
My child, will you bid this stranger welcome?
He is a seaman like me, and asks our hospitality.
Long homeless, always on for distant voyages,
in foreign lands he has gained great wealth.
Banished from his native land,
for a home he will pay handsomely:
speak, Senta, would it displease you
if this stranger stayed with us?
Senta nods her approval:
Daland turns to the Dutchman
Say, did I praise her too much?
You can see for yourself ‑ does she please you?
Should I let my praises still overflow?
Confess, she is an ornament to her sex!
The Dutchman makes a gesture of assent.
If, my child, you show yourself well disposed to this man,
he also asks for the gracious gift of your heart; give him
your hand and you shall have him for bridegroom: if you consent
to your father's suggestion, he will marry you tomorrow.
Senta makes a convulsive movement of pain. Daland produces some jewellery and shows it to his daughter.
Look at this ring, look at these bracelets!
Of what he owns these are but a trifle.
Dear child, do you not long to have them?
All this is yours if you exchange rings.
Senta, disregarding him, does not take her eyes off the Dutchman who likewise, without listening to Daland, is absorbed in contemplating her. Daland becomes aware of this; he looks at them both.
But neither speaks ... Am I not wanted here?
I see! I'd better leave them alone.
to Senta
May you win this noble husband!
Believe me, such luck will not occur again.
to the Dutchman
Stay here alone! I will leave you.
Believe me, she is as true as she is fair!

He goes out slowly, watching them both with pleased surprise. Senta and the Dutchman are alone. Long pause.

deeply moved
This maiden's image speaks to me
as from the distance of time long past:
as I had dreamed of it through eternities of dread,
now I see it before my eyes. I lifted up my eyes,
from the depths of darkness
full of longing for a wife;
ah! Satan's malice left me a heart to beat,
that I should remain mindful of my torment.
Can l, accursed as I am, call love
the dull glow that I feel burning here?
Ah no! My longing is for release:
O that it might come about through an angel like this!

Am I now deep in. some wondrous dream?
Is what I see a vision?
Have I been till now in realms of delusion?
Has the day of awakening just dawned?
He stands before me, his features lined with sorrow,
his unspoken grief speaks to me:
can the voice of deep sympathy mislead me?
He is here as I have often seen him.
Ah, what can I call this longing,
these sorrows which burn in my bosom?
The release for which you yearn, poor man,
Oh, that it might come about through me!

drawing slightly nearer to Senta
Are you not against your father's choice?
Could what he promised ‑ could it hold good?
Could you be mine for ever
and give your hand to me, a foreigner?
After a life of torment shall I find
in your true love my long‑sought rest?

Whoever you may be and whatever the doom
that cruel fate may decree for you -
whatever the lot that I bring upon myself
l will always be obedient to my father.

What, so unquestioningly? Could You be filled
with such deep compassion for my sorrows?

half aside
O what sorrows! Could I bring you comfort!

who has heard this
How sweet a sound in my night of tumult!
You are an angel! An angel's love
can comfort even lost souls.
O Eternal One, if I may still hope for redemption,
let it be through her!

Ah, if he may still hope for redemption,
O Eternal One, let it be through me!

O could you know the fate
that awaits you with me,
the sacrifice you bring me
when you swear to be true would daunt you.
Your youth would flee, shuddering,
from the lot you would bring upon yourself,
if you did not keep your vow
of woman's highest virtue, true constancy

Well I know woman's sacred duties,
therefore take comfort, hapless man!
Let fate condemn one
who can defy its decree!
In the purity of my heart
I know the high demands of fidelity;
to him to whom I vow it I pledge it wholly,
fidelity till death!

in exaltation
This vow, this solemn promise,
pours a holy balsam on my wounds.
Hear, ye powers! I have found my salvation,
which you have withheld from me!
Star of misfortune, you shall wane;
light of hope, shine anew!
Ye angels, who once forsook me,
now strengthen her heart and keep her true!

Some mighty magic fires me
and sends me forth to save him:
here may he find a home,
here may his ship rest in safe haven!
What is this power I feel within me?
What enchantment is locked in my bosom?
Almighty God, let this which elevates me
be the strength of fidelity.

Forgive me! My people will stay outside no longer;
each time we return home, you know, there is a feast:
I would enhance it, therefore I come to ask
if it can be combined with a betrothal?
to the Dutchman
I think you've wooed her to your heart's content?
to Senta
Senta, my child, do you too consent?

with solemn resolution
Here is my hand! And without regret
I plight my troth till death!

She gives her hand! Powers of hell,
through her troth I defy you!

You shall not regret this union!
To the feast! Today let all rejoice!


A bay with a rocky shore: Daland's house to one side in the foreground. The background is occupied by the two ships, the Norwegian's and the Dutchman's, lying fairly close together. The night is clear: the Norwegian ship is lit up; its sailors ore on deck, making merry. The appearance of the Dutch ship presents an uncanny contrast; it is enveloped in unnatural gloom and deathly quiet.

Helmsman, leave your watch!
Helmsman, join us here!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Hoist sail! Drop anchor!
Helmsman, come here!
Fearing neither wind nor rocky shore,
today we'll be right merry!
Each one has a sweetheart ashore,
capital tobacco and good brandy wine.
Hussassa hey!
For crag and storm out there ...
Yollo hohe!
... we don't care a rap!
Hussassa hey!
Furl soil! Anchor fast!
At crag and storm we laugh!
Helmsman, leave your watch!
Helmsman, join us here!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Helmsman, here, drink with us!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Crag and storm, hey!
we've done with them!
Hussa hey! Hallo hey!
Hussa hey! Helmsman, ho!
Here, come and drink with us!

They dance on the deck. The girls arrive with baskets full of food and drink.

Oh, do look! They're dancing, indeed!
It's clear they don't need any girls.

They go up to the Dutch ship.

Hey, girls, stop l Where are you going?

Did you fancy some refreshing wine?
Your neighbour there should have some too!
Is food and drink only for you?

You're right! Take some to the poor lads!
They seem to be faint with thirst!

There's no sound from them.

And just look! No lights!
Not a trace of the crew!

on the point of going aboard the Dutchman's ship
Ho, sailors! Hey! Do you want some light?
Where are you then? We can't see you!

Ha ha ha!
Don't wake them! They're still asleep.

shouting to the ship
Hey, sailors! Hey! Answer us!

Complete silence

Ha ha!
mockingly, with affected sorrow
They're dead, for sure;
they don't need food and drink!

Hey, sailors! Are you already snugly tucked up in bed?
Isn't today a feast for you too?

They stay lying where they are
like dragons guarding their gold.

Hey, sailors! Don't you want some refreshing wine?
You must surely be thirsty!

They don’t drink, they don't sing;
there's no light aboard their ship.

Say, haven't you any sweethearts on land?
Won't you join the dancing on this friendly shore?

They're old, and grey, not ruddy!
And their sweethearts are all dead!

calling loudly
Hey, sailors! Sailors! Wake up, there!
We bring you lots of food and drink!

reinforcing them
Hey, sailors! Sailors! Wake up, there!

Long silence

disconcerted and fearful
Indeed, they do seem dead.
They don't need food and drink.

You've heard of the Flying Dutchman!
That's the very image of his ship you see!

Then don't waken the crew:
they're all ghosts, we're certain of it!

with growing boisterousness
How many centuries have you been at sea?
Tempests and rocks don't harm you!

They don't drink, they don't sing!
There's no light aboard their ship.

Have you no letters, no messages for land?
We'll hand them to our great‑grandfathers!

They're old, and grey, not ruddy!
And their sweethearts are all dead!

Hey, sailors! Spread your sails
and show us how the Dutchman can fly!

frightened, retreating with their baskets from the Dutch ship
They don't hear! And we're afraid!
They want nothing ‑ so why do we shout?

You girls, leave the dead in peace!
Let us, the living, enjoy ourselves!

handing their baskets to the sailors on board
Then take it! Your neighbours reject it.

What? Aren't you yourselves coming aboard?

What? Aren`t you
yourselves coming on board?

No, not just yet! It isn't late!
We'll come soon! Now drink away,
and if you like, dance too;
but don't grudge your weary neighbours rest.


emptying the baskets
Hurrah! Hurrah! There's plenty here!
Thank you, dear neighbours!

Everyone fill his glass to the brim!
Our dear neighbours have supplied us with drink.

Hallo hoho ho!
Dear neighbours, if you have tongues at all,
wake up and join us! Hussa!

They drink up and set down the cups noisily. From here on there are stirrings of life on the Dutch ship.

Helmsman, leave your watch!
Helmsman, join us here!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Hoist sail! Drop anchor!
Helmsman, come here!
Many a night we've watched in howling storms,
often drunk the sea's briny waters:
today, making merry, we watch
our girls give us a better drink from the barrel.
Hussassa hey!
For crag and storm out there …
Yollo ho hey!
Hussassa hey!
Furl sail! Anchor fast!
At crag and storm we laugh!
Helmsman, leave your watch!
Helmsman, join us here!
Hot Hey! Hey! Ha!
Helmsman, here drink with us!
Ho! Hey! Hey! Ha!
Crag and storm, hey!
we've done with them!
Hussa hey! Hallo hey!
Hussa hey! Helmsman, he!
Here, come and drink with us!

The sea, which everywhere else remains calm, has begun to rise in the neighbourhood of the Dutch ship; a dull blue flame flares up like a watchfire. A storm wind whistles through the rigging. The crew, hitherto invisible, bestir themselves.

Yohohoe l Yohohoe! Hoe! Hoe! Hoe!
Hui – ssa!
On to shore drives the storm.
Hui – ssa!
Furl sail! Down with the anchor!
Hui – ssa!
Hurry in to the bay!
Gloomy captain, go ashore,
seven years are up!
Seek a blond maiden's hand!
Blond maiden, be true to him!
Be joyful today, whee!
bridegroom! Whee!
The storm wind howls bridal music ‑ the ocean dances to it!
Whee! Hark, it whistles ‑
Captain, are you back again? ‑
Whee! Set sail! ‑
Your bride, oh where is she? ‑
Whee! Off to sea! ‑
Captain, captain! You're not lucky in love!
Ha ha ha!
Storm wind, blow and howl,
you can't perturb our sails!
Satan has given them his blessing,
in all eternity they'll not burst.
Ho ho, not in all eternity!

During the Dutchman's crew's song their ship is tossed up and down by the waves; a terrible storm wind howls end whistles through the bare rigging. The air and sea elsewhere, except in the immediate neighbourhood of the Dutch ship, remains calm, as before.

who have watched and listened first with astonishment, then with terror
What a song! Are they ghosts? ‑ I'm filled with fear!
Sing our song! Sing loudly!
Helmsman, leave your watch!
Helmsman, join us here!
Ha! Hey! Hey! Ha!

The Norwegians try to drown the song of the Dutchman's crew with their own song. After vain efforts the raging of the sea, the roaring, howling and whistling of the unnatural storm, together with the ever wilder song of the Dutchman's crew silence them. They fall back, make the sign of the cross and quit the deck: the Dutch crew, seeing them, burst into shrill, mocking laughter. After this the former deathlike silence suddenly falls on their ship again; in a moment, air and sea become calm, as before.

Senta comes hurrying out of the house: Erik follows her in great agitation.

Must I hear this? God, must I see this?
Is this delusion or the truth? Can it be?

turning away, painfully moved
O do not ask! I dare not answer you.

Righteous heaven! Beyond doubt, it is true!
What unholy power led you astray?
What power so quickly induced you
cruelly to break my faithful heart?
Your father ‑ ah! he brought the bridegroom with him ...
I know him well ... I suspected what would happen!
But you ... is it possible! ‑ you gave your hand
to a man who has barely crossed your threshold!

No more! Hush! I must, I must!

O this obedience! Blind as what you have done!
You welcomed your father's suggestion,
with a single blow you break my heart!

struggling with herself
No more! No more! I must not see you again
nor think of you: sacred duty commands it.

What sacred duty? Is it not more sacred
to keep the eternal faith you once pledged to me?

What? I pledged eternal faith to you?

Senta, O Senta, can you deny it?
Do you no longer remember that day
when you called me to you in the valley?
when, to cull mountain flowers for you,
I fearlessly took countless pains?
Do you recall how on the steep rocky ridge
we watched your father depart from the shore?
He sailed away on his white‑winged ship
and entrusted you to my care.
When you put your arm around my neck
did you not confess your love anew?
What thrilled me in the clasp of our hand,
was that not the affirmation of your troth?

The Dutchman, unnoticed, has heard all this: in terrible agitation he now bursts in.

Lost! Ah, lost! Salvation is lost for ever!

recoiling in terror
What do I see? Heavens!

Senta, farewell!

throwing herself in his path
Stop, unhappy man!

to Senta
What are you going to do?

To sea! To sea ‑ for all eternity!
to Senta
There's an end to your vow,
to your vow ‑ and my salvation!
Farewell, you shall not perish with me!

O horror! That look ...!

You shall never flee from here!

giving his crew a shrill signal on his whistle
Set sail! Up anchor!
Bid farewell to the land for ever!

Ah, you doubt my faith?
Unhappy man, what has misled you?
O stay! Do not repent our bond!
I will hold to what I promised!

I am driven forth to sea once more!
I cannot depend on you, I cannot depend on God!
All trust is lost, lost!
What you pledged was but in jest!

What do I hear? O God, what must I see?
Must I believe my eyes and ears?
Senta! Are you bent on destruction?
Come to me! You are in Satan's clutches!

Learn the fate from which I save you!
I am doomed to the most hideous of lots:
rather would I welcome death ten times over!
From the curse a woman alone can free me,
a woman who would be true to me till death ...
You plighted your troth to me, but not
before Almighty God: this saves you!
For know, unhappy maid, what is the fate
awaiting those who break their vow to me:
eternal damnation is their lot!
Countless victims have suffered this sentence
through me; but you shall escape.
Farewell! All hope be lost for ever!

in fearful terror, calling to the house and the ship
Help! Save her, save her!

in the utmost excitement
Well I know you! Well I know your fate!
I knew you when first I saw you!
The end of your torment is at hand! I am she
through whose constancy you shall find salvation!

At Erik's cries for help, Daland, Mary and the girls have hurried from the house, and the sailors from the ship.

Help her! She is lost!

What do I see?

O God!

to Senta
You know me not, nor suspect who I am!
He points to his ship, whose red sails are spread and whose crew, in ghostly activity, are preparing for departure.
But ask the seas throughout the world,
ask the sailor who has crossed the ocean;
he knows this ship, the dread of the godly:
I am called the Flying Dutchman.

Yohohe! Yohohoe! Hoe! Huissal

With lightning speed he boards his ship, which immediately puts to sea to the shouts of her crew. All stand aghast. Senta struggles to free herself from Daland and Erik, who hold her back.

Senta, Senta! What would you do?

Senta with a furious effort has torn herself free and has reached a projecting rocky ridge: from there she calls after the departing Dutchman with all her might.

Praise your angel and his words!
Here I am, true to you till death!

She flings herself into the sea: at that same moment the Dutchman's ship sinks and quickly disappears as a wreck. In the far distance the Dutchman and Senta, he embracing her, rise from the water, both transfigured.