The Metropolitan Opera's performance of Alban Berg's Lulu is here on Blu-ray and DVD together in one package. The Met's production, directed by acclaimed South African visual artist William Kentridge, premiered in 2015 and starred Marlis Petersen in her final performances as Lulu, a role she has made "hers and almost hers alone" (Opera News). The performance seen here was recorded and broadcast live in movie theaters around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD on November 21, 2015. "A stunning and searing production," exclaims the New York Times. All-region NTSC.
Nonesuch Records releases the Metropolitan Opera's performance of Alban Berg's Lulu on Blu-ray and DVD together in one package (all-region NTSC) on October 28, 2016. The Met's new production, directed by acclaimed South African visual artist William Kentridge, premiered in 2015 and starred Marlis Petersen in her final performances as Lulu, a role she has made "hers and almost hers alone" (Opera News) in ten different productions over eighteen years. The New York Times called it "a stunning and searing production." Lulu was recorded and broadcast live in movie theaters around the world as part of The Met: Live in HD on November 21, 2015. You can watch the Met's trailer for the production above.
Kentridge received acclaim for his previous work at the Met directing the company premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's The Nose in 2010. This new Lulu, conducted by Lothar Koenigs, featured Susan Graham as the Countess Geschwitz, Daniel Brenna as Alwa, Paul Groves as The Painter/African Prince, Johan Reuter as Dr. Schön/Jack the Ripper, and Franz Grundheber as Schigolch. Lulu's production team included co-director Luc De Wit, set designer Sabine Theunissen, costume designer Greta Goiris, lighting designer Urs Schönebaum, and projection designer Catherine Meyburgh, all of whom also worked on The Nose.
Berg's monumental opera, which he left unfinished when he died in 1935, had its posthumous premiere in its incomplete version in 1937, with the three-act version that has become standard premiering in 1979. The opera tells the tragic story of a young woman who, as a victim of a harsh society, torments a series of men by whom she is objectified, desired, abused, and eventually killed. "She's ungraspable, and a fantastic white canvas for the men to put their ideas on," says Petersen about her character, in an interview with Graham.
Berg adapted the libretto from Frank Wedekind's two Lulu plays, Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora's Box, 1904). He wrote the music using the 12-tone style conceived of his teacher, Arnold Schönberg, but with a nod to Romanticism that makes it unusually accessible for something written by a Schönberg disciple. "Berg made it very tonal, actually, for us and also for the ears of the audience," says Petersen. "You don't hear the 12-tone music."
"Lulu is one of the great operas of the 20th century," says Kentridge, speaking on video about the production. "It's an opera that's about the fragility or the possibility or the fragmentation of desire…Ink is the primary medium of the production. Essentially [it's] the vehemence of a black brushstroke… trying to find some equivalent, visually, to the violence of the opera."
Production: William Kentridge
Co-Director: Luc De Wit
Projection Designer: Catherine Meyburgh
Set Designer: Sabine Theunissen
Costume Designer: Greta Goiris
Lighting Designer: Urs Schönebaum
A Metropolitan Opera High-Definition Production
Director: Matthew Diamond
Music Producer—Jay David Saks
Supervising Producers: Mia Bongiovanni, Elena Park
Producers: Louisa Briccetti, Victoria Warivonchik
Executive Producer: Peter Gelb
Host: Deborah Voigt
The Met: Live in HD transmission on November 21, 2015
Assistant Video Editor: Snezana Marovic
Video Control: Kim Gunning
Musical Preparation: Linda Hall, Derrick Inouye, Gareth Morrell, Jonathan Khuner, Jonathan C. Kelly, Bryan Wagorn
Assistant Stage Directors: Gregory Keller, Sarah Ina Meyers
Stage Band Conductor: Gregory Buchalter
German Coach: Marianne Barrett
Dramaturg: Paul Cremo
Prompter: Jonathan Khuner
The stage production of Lulu was made possible by The Kirsh Family Foundation.
The Met: Live in HD series is made possible by a generous grant from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation.
Global corporate sponsorship of The Met: Live in HD is also provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Major funding for Great Performances at the Met provided by Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®.
Additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and The Agnes Varis Trust.
Lulu is a co-production of the Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera, and English National Opera.
Tape and editing costs funded by Lloyd E. Rigler−Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation and Dunard Fund USA.
Blu-ray & DVD Menu Design by Craig Anderson
Blu-ray Authoring by Craig Anderson
DVD Authoring by David Dieckmann
Designed and Authored at Craigman Digital
Package Design: Jason Arias
Cover Photo: Kristian Schuller/Metropolitan Opera
Photos © 2015 Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
English Subtitles: Met Titles adapted by David Rebhun © Metropolitan Opera 2015
French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish Subtitles: © Metropolitan Opera 2015
Music by Alban Berg
Libretto by the composer, based on the plays Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box by Frank Wedekind
Lulu: Marlis Petersen
Countess Geschwitz: Susan Graham
Alwa, Dr. Schön's son, a composer: Daniel Brenna
The Painter, The African Prince: Paul Groves
Dr. Schön, Jack the Ripper: Johan Reuter
The Animal Tamer, The Acrobat: Martin Winkler
Schigolch: Franz Grundheber
The Wardrobe Mistress, The Schoolboy, The Page: Elizabeth Deshong
The Prince, The Manservant, The Marquis: Alan Oke
The Theater Manager, The Banker: Julian Close
The Fifteen-Year-Old Girl: Ashley Emerson
Her Mother: Jane Shaulis
The Designer: Kathryn Day
The Journalist: Tyler Duncan
The Servant: Paul Corona
The Physician, The Professor, The Police Commissioner: James Courtney
Solo Performers: Joanna Dudley, Andrea Fabi
Conducted by Lothar Koenigs
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra