Director: Thomas Grimm
Distributor: Digital Classics Distribution Ltd.
Lenght: 130 mins.
16:9 shot in 1080i HDTV | stereo & 5.1 surround sound
© 2002, a co-production with NHK, SF DRS/3sat & SWR
Un­usu­ally, this Zurich Op­era pro­duc­tion presents Berg’s in­com­plete two-act ver­sion of "Lulu", which premièred on June 2, 1937 in Zurich, adding per­form­ances of the "Vari­ations" and "Adagio" from the con­cert suite as a coda to the work. It has the repu­ta­tion of be­ing sur­roun­ded by scan­dals. On the one hand, this is due to the du­bi­ous char­ac­ter of the sub­ject, the man-eat­ing ‘femme fatale’ which Berg had taken from Frank Wede­kind’s two Lulu tra­gedies – "The Earth Spir­it" and "Pan­dora’s Box" – com­bined in­to one op­era lib­retto. On the oth­er hand, Berg’s wid­ow Helene had (for per­son­al reas­ons) re­peatedly re­fused to have the op­era com­pleted, which was un­fin­ished when Berg died.

The score of Lulu de­rives its im­pact from its al­most over­whelm­ing son­ic rich­ness, as it ranges from Straus­si­an full-or­ches­tral dens­ity to pared-down cab­aret-style in­stru­ment­a­tion.
In the pit is Zurich’s mu­sic dir­ect­or Franz Welser-Möst who has de­veloped sen­sa­tion­ally since tak­ing up this post and has to be one of the most ver­sat­ile con­duct­ors on the in­terna-tion­al cir­cuit. He has shaped the Chor­us and Or­ches­tra of the Zurich Op­era House in­to an en­semble of ex­cep­tion­al vir­tu­os­ity and their per­form­ance of Berg’s mu­sic is elec­tri­fy­ing.

Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s pro­duc­tion for the Zurich Op­era, de­signed in cool art-deco style by Rolf and Mari­anne Glit­ten­berg, re­ceived rave re­views when premièred in Ju­ly 2000. Laura Aiken’s blonde-bobbed Lulu was hailed as a tri­umph, im­buing the char­ac­ter with a hu­man in­di­vidu­al­ity as well as a strong erot­ic charge. She ra­di­ates an an­im­al mag­net­ism and her gos­samer voice con­jures up myri­ad sound col­ours from plain speech to vo­lup­tu­ous vo­cal­isa­tion. Her per­form­ance has an un­der­cur­rent of im­mense sor­row that lends it un­fathom­able depth, the source of which is wit­nessed in the si­lent film in Act II. This nor­mally shows Lulu’s ar­rest and tri­al for the murder of Schön, but in Bechtolf’s pro­duc­tion it shows the trauma she suffered when she was raped as a child.
Aiken’s Lulu is a power­ful pivot around which all the oth­er char­ac­ters ro­tate, their char­ac­ters defined by their re­la­tion­ships with her: Rolf Haun­stein as the vul­gar ath­lete; Al­fred Muff as a suave Dr. Schön, whose el­eg­ance dis­guises his lust­ful in­stincts; Steve Dav­is­lim as the ideal­ist­ic paint­er; Peter Straka as the de­voted Al­wa; An­drea Bönig as the over-zeal­ous school­boy; Guido Götzen as the en­ig­mat­ic Schigol­ch; and Cor­ne­lia Kal­lisch as the rather reti­cent Count­ess Geschwitz.