Alban Berg’s Lulu [DVD – Royal Opera/Eichenholz … Volle … Larmore … Pappano … directed by Christof Loy]

0 of 5 stars

Lulu – Opera in a prologue and three acts to a libretto by the composer after the plays Erdgeist and Die Büsche der Pandora by Frank Wedekind [performed with Act III realised by Friedrich Cerha; sung in German with subtitles in English, French, German and Spanish]

Lulu – Agneta Eichenholz
Dr Schön / Jack the Ripper – Michael Volle
Alwa – Klaus Florian Vogt
Countess Geschwitz – Jennifer Larmore
Schigolch – Gwynne Howell
Prince / Servant / Marquis – Philip Langridge
Painter / Policeman / Negro – Will Hartmann
Dr Goll / Theatre Manager / Banker / Professor – Jeremy White
Animal Trainer / Athlete – Peter Rose
Dresser / Schoolboy / Groom – Heather Shipp
Journalist – Kostas Smoriginas
Manservant – Vuyani Mlinde
Gallery Owner – Monika-Evelin Liiv
Mother – Frances McCafferty
15-Year-Old Girl – Simona Mihai

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Antonio Pappano

Christof Loy – Director
Herbert Murauer – Designs
Eva-Mareike Uhlig – Costume Co-Designer
Reinhard Traub – Lighting design
Thomas Wilhelm – Movement Director
Robin Lough – Film Director

Recorded on 13 & 17 June 2009 at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

Additional material: interviews with Agneta Eichenholz and Antonio Pappano

Reviewed by: Tim Ashley

Reviewed: June 2010
OA 1034 D (2 DVDs)
Duration: 3 hours 25 minutes [including bonus features]



Christof Loy’s production of Alban Berg’s “Lulu” caused ructions whenit was first seen at Covent Garden in June 2009. While therewas a broad consensus of opinion with regard to the high quality of its musical values, Loy’s staging aroused such heated passions thatarguments raged over its worth in the letter pages of nationalnewspapers. Loy’s detractors, who were very much in the majority,argued that his stripped-back, minimalist approach had pared so muchout of Berg’s masterpiece that the work itself was in danger ofvanishing in the process. His admirers – fewer in number, but equallyvocal – claimed that he had captured its essence by the simplest andmost striking means imaginable, and that this was, indeed, among themost intelligent productions to be presented by the Royal Opera inrecent years.

Opus Arte has released the production on DVD, which means thatthose of us who, like myself, managed to miss it in the theatre, cangain some kind of idea as to just what caused such violentlyantithetical reactions. While the reasons are more than onceapparent, I also confess to perplexity with it, in that watching it onfilm clearly differs sharply from anything anyone experienced in thetheatre. Cameras can cover up flaws and shifts in perspectives, aswell as expose truths, and some of the original critical comments,both positive and negative, seem very wide of the mark as a result.

  • Opus Arte
  • Royal Opera
  • First-night review
  • Interview with Agneta Eichenholz
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