In many ways, the next offering from The Met: Live in HD should be on every visual artist’s must-see list. The reason is simple: William Kentridge directs the opera with the eye of an artist, ceaselessly experimenting and exploring the depths of this twelve-tone opera by innovative composer Alban Berg. The result is that this Lulu is getting high marks for direction and design of course, but for the music too. Wait until you hear (and see) Marlis Petersen do her star turn as the irresistible femme fatale in this complex story.
And it is a good thing that Kentridge never runs out of visual tricks over the course of this four-hour opera. While it may take the average listener a good half hour before they become comfortable with the elements of the 12-tone system when sung, by the climax of this operatic tour-de-force it is the rare person who can remain untouched, and glad they trusted this great opera to do its job as the magnificent entertainment it is.
Alban Berg (1885-1935) was an Austrian composer. was a part of Vienna’s cultural elite during the heady fin de siècle period. Musically, he was a member of the Second Viennese School with Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, and produced compositions that combined Mahlerian Romanticism with a personal adaptation of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique.