, August 2012
This is a well produced disc with top quality sound and pictures. Brian Large’s name on the video direction ensures the very highest standards and he comes particularly into his own in the opening of Act 3, of which more below. The camera-work throughout is outstanding. The English subtitles are well synchronised to this complex and difficult score, aiding understanding greatly.
Alban Berg did not live to complete Lulu, leaving its final act partially scored but mostly composed. This performance is of the now well accepted completion by Friedrich Cerha. What he has achieved is as full a realization of Berg’s intentions as is possible.
The singing and acting of Patricia Petibon as Lulu is magnificent. She is that rare creature, a singer with the face and figure of a model, who manages to look utterly convincing as the femme fatale even when dressed in the most alluring lingerie—as she is during much of Act 1. One does not have to wonder why men fall under her spell and even die of it. She is matched by the superb singing of Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as the Countess Geschwitz, Michael Volle as Dr Schon, Thomas Piffka as Alwa and Franz Grundheber as Schigolch, not to mention the rest of a great cast. The stage director Vera Nemirov has daringly set almost the whole of Act 3 Scene 1 off the stage in the auditorium among the audience, in the aisles, on the edge of orchestra pit and only finally on the stage. Here we see the richest audience in Europe in the middle of a scene of fraudulent share dealing and general social corruption. It is to their credit (?) that they look only mildly shocked! This is a coup de théâtre for Nemirova and a challenge for Brian Large’s cameramen and women. The sound and picture continue flawlessly wherever the peripatetic cast wander. Almost all of the staging and costuming is dedicated to the service of this music. It is not necessary to suspend one’s disbelief as so often happens in current opera staging: here one is gripped from beginning to the disturbing and bloody end. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review