I had a chance to see a dress rehearsal of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman yesterday. The production had stunning scenery, lighting and quite astonishing musically. The rest of it was ok.
However, the whole time I could not shake this weird feeling of musical deja vu. I am not very familiar with Wagner, but as the female chorus filed on to deliver the Spinning Song, I realized I was watching every collective farm chorus from every 1930s Soviet Collective Farm musical comedy. There are at least a dozen films, scored by Isaac Dunayevsky, which quite freely borrow from the sweeping, picturesque tunes of Richard Wagner and (a bit later) Richard Strauss. They all celebrate the achievement of the collective farm workers of different ilk - harvesters, milk maidens - in expansive, marching and quite catchy tunes.
I present to you, the Spinning Chorus from The Flying Dutchman.
As well as "Helmsmen, leave your watch"
And while I've been unable to find the exact female chorus I was reminded of, I present a Chorus from 1937's The Wealthy Bride.
1940's The Bright Way - note that these are modern spinners...feel free to skip to 1:00 mark, the song doesn't start until then. This film stars Lubov Orlova, who has been long held as the most beautiful and most sonorous star of all of Soviet cinematography.
Now I'm all nostalgic. Damn.