Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dutch National Opera premieres William Kentridge's LULU

The Dutch National Opera will premiere William Kentridge's long anticipated staging of the complete version of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu at the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, in a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera New York and English National Opera. Performances takes place June 1, 6, 8, 14, 20, 23, 25 and 28.

Lulu? from the Dutch National Opera website

From the Dutch National Opera website: "Alban Berg wrestled with Lulu his entire life, leaving it unfinished at his death in 1935. Friedrich Cerha completed the orchestration of the third act only in 1979. Until then, only the first two acts were ever performed, with segments of the Lulu Suite as a conclusion. Although the musical motives are based on a single twelve-tone series, the instrumentation is colourful and there is a great variety of musical forms. As the rhythm of the vocal lines closely follows that of speech, the text comes across as very natural. One of the highlights is Lulu’s provocative song ‘Wenn sich die Menschen um meinetwillen umgebracht haben’."

"The story is drawn from two plays by Frank Wedekind about the attractive young dancer Lulu, who uses her charms to conquer and destroy. All men – and the occasional woman – desire her, but whoever marries her is faced with a death sentence. Guilt or innocence? That is the question. With each man, Lulu climbs the social ladder. She is cold and calculating, but also an easy prey for others. In the middle of the opera Berg includes music for a silent film that depicts Lulu’s demise after she has murdered her husband Dr. Schön. The dénouement at the end of the third act – Lulu has descended into prostitution – is sensational."

"Conductor Fabio Luisi and director William Kentridge both make their Dutch National Opera debut. Mojca Erdmann appeared previously at Dutch National Opera as Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In both voice and appearance, Erdmann is a perfect Lulu. The South African artist and filmmaker William Kentridge was inspired for his staging by the silent films from the 1920s and ‘30s, the time in which Lulu was composed." Among those silent films is Pandora's Box, starring Louise Brooks. The 1929 silent film is based on the same literary source material as Berg's libretto.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra takes its place in the pit, and the opera will be performed in German, with surtitles in Dutch and English.

William Kentridge's staging of Alban Berg’s Lulu will take place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in early November. Exact dates will be announced in February.

William Kentridge working on Lulu for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. (photo by Robert Caplin)

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