Music: Dazzling Dutchman

When he was 26, Richard Wagner, with his wife Minna and his dog Robber, boarded a small (100-ton) Prussian-owned vessel and set sail from Pillau for London. The stormy passage that followed took more than three weeks instead of the customary eight days, and the superstitious crew angrily blamed Wagner and his wife for their bad luck. From the experience of that voyage Wagner conceived his opera The Flying Dutchman, which was never popular in Wagner's own lifetime, has met with varying luck ever since. Last week, after an absence of nine years,...

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