September 28, 2023

Dutchman diaries

BREAKING NEWS — In a groundbreaking archeological discovery, researchers in Norway recently unearthed a collection of journal entries and captains’ logs dating back to 1843. The collection is said to provide concrete evidence supporting the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

Lyric has gained first access to the accounts, some even written by the Dutchman himself, and together with the recorded reflections of his unwitting counterparts, the diaries and other documents tell of an eerie encounter during one of the Dutchman’s infrequent journeys on land. Read on for a fascinating adventure into the strange and uncharted waters of history!

The Dutchman

Captain’s log #1,219,754,323

After another seemingly endless seven-year stint at sea, I’ve made my way to shore. I met a fellow sea captain, Daland, with an unmarried daughter, Senta, and asked for her hand in marriage. Not the first time I have tried it, but it seems to be going well. He was hesitant at first but agreed once I offered him a hefty sum of money. He could have negotiated a better deal for himself because I was willing to give him much more.

Senta is a beautiful woman with an unhealthy attraction to my haunted aura. I did try this new scent, Ghostly Galleon Musk, that may have something to do with it. As much as I try to warn her, she doesn’t seem too put off by my eternal curse. I even caught her swooning over a portrait that looked eerily like me. I won’t try to scare her off too much — if she likes it, I love it.

We’re to be married tomorrow! My endless journey on the seas will finally come to an end.

The Dutchman seizing command of Daland's ship amidst a storm.


Dear Diary,

I woke up this morning and could smell in the air that my life would change forever. And I was right! I couldn’t wait to tell all the girls. Fate brought me the most handsome shadowy sea captain I have ever laid my eyes on. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it feels like we’ve met before.

Erik thinks I’m going too far with my love for Dutchman — talk about a jealous ex. There’s no amount of poems he could write to me that will make me change my mind. This poor sailor will sail the seas forever if we don’t marry.

So it’s decided, I will put my dreamy Dutchman out of his everlasting misery once we are wedded tomorrow. In no time, I’ll be together forever with the love of my life.

Yours truly,

Senta, next to Mary, yearning for a painting of the Dutchman. 


Dear Diary,

So Senta was gazing at a painting of that cursed sailor again. Yet another day of unrequited love… not sure if I can take it for much longer. I tried putting charcoal on my face to look dark and mysterious but Senta thought I was getting the grill ready for her bridal party tonight.

I mean, the guy is totally toxic, and I tried to warn her, but everything I said only seemed to push her away even further. I mean, any proper lady would happily take back the man who wrote her this poem:

Senta, my love, it’s me, not him
That Dutchman? He’s so ghastly grim!
I’ve got charm, and I’m alive
Pick me, girl, and we will thrive!

I have done enough moping around. I need to practice how I will declare “I object” when the officiant asks during the wedding ceremony.

Erik in distress after learning of Senta's forthcoming engagement to the Dutchman.


Captain’s log #134

Woke up to find a mysterious stowaway on board. Steersman asleep at the wheel again. Literally. He didn’t want a free ride but offered to marry my daughter – and offered a handsome dowry to boot! Seemed like a decent bargain to ease my debt, but I’m starting to think I accidently signed up for another one of those pyramid schemes. Fingers crossed this doesn’t turn into a catastrophe.

Note to self: Next time, vet potential in-laws a bit more carefully.

Daland making a deal with the Dutchman to marry his daughter, Senta, while Steersman cowers in fear.


Dear Diary,

He turns out to be a pretty weird guy – but he’s just so magnetic. I find myself wandering around in a daze, thinking of him constantly. There’s a storm coming but I hope it won’t mess up our celebrations. I mean, it's not every day you marry a centuries-old cursed sailor. I just hope the rain holds off long enough for our happily-ever-after, or at least until the curtain falls on our grand theatrical wedding.

Yours truly,

Senta and the Dutchman meet cute — sort of.


Dear Diary,

I just feel so much pressure and so much worry. Senta seems totally serious about all this. She’s obsessed! Her determination to marry him at any cost feels like a spell has been cast upon her. It's like we've stepped into a classic love story with a supernatural twist, and I'm not sure where my role fits in. I’m worried I might do something drastic.

Erik's heart aches as Senta walks down the aisle to marry the Dutchman.

And that concludes the excerpts we were able to obtain. As the wedding day nears, will Senta’s persistent love for the otherworldly Dutchman lead to a happily ever after, or will something more sinister ensue?

Find out how this story ends, in grand theatrical fashion, with Lyric’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman — on stage September 23 - October 7.

September 23 - October 7, 2023

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Wagner's masterpiece The Flying Dutchman, a story of a young woman's obsession with a cursed wanderer who seeks a faithful companion. This production is led by Enrique Mazzola and features Tomasz Konieczny and Tamara Wilson in leading roles.

Header photo: Tomasz Konieczny (The Dutchman) and Tamara Wilson (Senta) in Lyric's 2023/24 Season production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. Credit: Andrew Cioffi/Lyric Opera of Chicago

All other photos: Todd Rosenberg