6-20 April 2004. Conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, directed by Yannis Kokkos, with Hans Tschammer, Eva Johansson, Wolfgang Milligramm.

This Easter, two operas in Italy offer reflections on salvation and creation. At the Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan Der Fliegende Hollnder by Richard Wagner goes on stage 6-20 April. This was the first time that Wagner approached the theme of salvation, which he was to develop further in Gtterdmmerung and Parsifal. Everything in the opera hangs on the "ballad of Senta", not only because it is the mid-point of the middle act, nor because it is the main leitmotif of the opera, but because it represents the dramatic crux that justifies all the operas actions. During the ballad, Senta becomes aware that her destiny is linked to that of the Dutchman and that his salvation can only be attained through the sacrifice of her life. The performance at Teatro degli Arcimboldi comes from the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, where it was performed in 2000, and its direction, scenery and costumes are by Yannis Kokkos. The focal point of this interpretation is the use of a mirror enclosing and reflecting the entire stage; the result is a striking play of double images, which is combined with film projections and lighting effects. The musical part of the opera is in the hands of conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky.

In Naples, at the Teatro San Carlo, a concert version of Die Schpfung by Franz Joseph Haydn an oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra will be performed 3-8 April. The composition draws on John Miltons Paradise Lost, starting with the original chaos, passing through the seven days of creation, and culminating in the contemplation of Adam and Eve in earthly paradise. The music of the days of creation may seem somewhat ingenuous, but actually it contains some original elements. The way in which Haydn combines the orchestra and choir shows a perfect fusion of operatic devices in the classic, 18th- century style. The concert will be conducted by Jerzy Semkow and features the soloists Andrea Rost, Jonas Kaufmann and Kristinn Sigmundsson. Teatro San Carlo, tel. 0817972331, www.teatrosancarlo.it.

Paolo Di Nicola

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Address Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.

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Der Fliegende Hollnder by Wagner.

Teatro degli Arcimboldi, tel. 0272003744.