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The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Berg: Lulu (2006– ) Online

The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Berg: Lulu (2006– ) Online
Original Title :
Berg: Lulu
Genre :
TV Episode / Musical
Year :
Directror :
Matthew Diamond
Cast :
Marlis Petersen,Susan Graham,Deborah Voigt
Writer :
Alban Berg,Frank Wedekind
Type :
TV Episode
Time :
3h 22min
Rating :
The Metropolitan Opera HD Live Berg: Lulu (2006– ) Online

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Marlis Petersen Marlis Petersen - Lulu
Susan Graham Susan Graham - Countess Geschwitz
Deborah Voigt Deborah Voigt - Herself - Host
Daniel Brenna Daniel Brenna - Alwa, Dr. Schön's son, a composer
Paul Groves Paul Groves - The Painter, The African Prince
Johan Reuter Johan Reuter - Dr. Schön, Jack the Ripper
Martin Winkler Martin Winkler - The Animal Tamer, The Acrobat
Franz Grundheber Franz Grundheber - Schigolch
Elizabeth DeShong Elizabeth DeShong - The Wardrobe Mistress, The Schoolboy, The Page
Alan Oke Alan Oke - The Prince, The Manservant, The Marquis
Julian Close Julian Close - The Theater Manager, The Banker
Jane Shaulis Jane Shaulis - Her Mother
Kathryn Day Kathryn Day - The Designer
Tyler Duncan Tyler Duncan - The Journalist
Paul Corona Paul Corona - The Servant

User reviews



Before this 'Lulu', the 10th season of the intriguing Met Opera Live series saw the powerful 'Il Trovatore', an interesting and quite well done in many areas (especially the Desdemona and the conducting) but also disappointing 'Otello' and the mostly very impressive and musically outstanding 'Tannhäuser'.

'Lulu', which was a triumph in every way, is my personal favourite. And as great as William Kentridge's other Met production of Shostakovich's 'The Nose' was, his 'Lulu' is even better. Left incomplete after composer Berg's ultimely death from sepsis in 1935, even with the incompleteness being evident on occasions in the third act (as well as the mammoth length and whether you like Expressionist music or not, for me it's more high appreciation than love), 'Lulu' is still one of Berg's best works (marginally prefer 'Wozzeck' though) and a 20th century landmark in opera, with its dark text, black humour (often nightmarishly so), quite fascinating titular character (who you do feel some sympathy for at times despite her being so amoral), Berg's intense but strangely beautiful - once you get used to it - music and the terrifying final scene.

Kentridge's imagery and animations could have easily posed problems for the drama and staging, but actually not only were the imagery and animations so visually striking and so cleverly utilised they did not detract at all from the twisted drama, the very dark libretto and text, complex stage action or the music, instead being very responsive and adding hugely to them, giving a real eeriness to the whole thing. The sets are suitably seedily austere as well as bleakly handsome in others, matching the story's tone perfectly, and the costumes fit beautifully within the concept and don't look too ugly on their own either. The production looks fantastic in HD and boasted some sympathetic but also dramatic video directing and very clear picture quality. The sound was fine mostly, though occasionally with a little too much prominence on the singers than the orchestra. Deborah Voigt hosts warmly as ever.

This 'Lulu' is hugely compelling dramatically. It is not easy giving a character of Lulu's nature humanity and ambiguity and Dr Schön more nuance and more than just a stock menacing 'villain', but this production manages to achieve both of those brilliantly. The final scene does not disappoint, this viewer found herself not only biting her nails due to the sheer terror and fever-pitch suspense evoked in Lulu's death scene but also quite emotional. Loved also the intensity and ambiguity of the interactions between Lulu and Dr Schön.

It's equally outstanding musically, the orchestra successfully manages to make Berg's incredibly complex score beautiful and affecting as well as frightening and twisted, this is more than just dissonant noise as I have heard Expressionist music described a fair bit, it seems like that on first listen but when one gets used to the style it appeals more. Lothar Koenigs steps in for an indisposed James Levine with great aplomb, it is not easy taking over from an esteemed conductor (whose own conducting of 'Lulu' can be seen and heard on the 1980 John Dexter-directed Met production with Julia Migenes-Johnson, one of the best productions of the opera available, and of the opera in general I only consider the 1979 production with Teresa Stratas superior) , take on such a challenge and make it your own and Koenigs manages to do so with authority, intricacy and nuance, particularly excelling in the second act.

Marlis Petersen positively sears in the title role, at her best magnificent. Her voice is beautiful and commanding, even in passages where the vocal writing is treacherously high and used with such fearless and sometimes intense expression that it never sounds too nice (a good thing), not sounding taxed at all by some of the most difficult music in the whole operatic repertoire. She similarly captivates as an actress, the success in giving a complex, amoral character humanity (which stops Lulu thankfully from being too one- dimensional) can be attributed in a lot of ways to the stage direction but Petersen's strengths as a singing-actress plays just as large a part. The sexual allure she gives to the role too, something that is much needed for Lulu, makes one see with ease what the men who meet unfortunate ends see in her. Susan Graham is a noble, dignified and poignant Countess with her voice as creamy and sumptuous as ever. Johan Reuter not only gives the best and most resonant singing I've heard from him, yet but manages to bring nuance (being menacing sometimes, especially in the third act where he's unforgettably terrifying as Jack the Ripper, and surprisingly affecting in others) to a role that's anything but. Paul Groves does have some grain in his voice but it fits his role perfectly and it's still an attractive sound overall, Daniel Brenna makes for an earnest and robustly sung Alwa and Franz Grundhaber gives one the creeps as Schigolch.

All in all, a triumph and the standout of the 10th season so far. 10/10 Bethany Cox