This week is another tasteful and satisfying evening out at the ENO. It is also the second time the ENO has presented a revival work, following The Pearl Fishers (click here for my review), that went down a treat in New York’s Met opera house last year (click here for my review), also shown in Amsterdam as a co-production with Dutch National Opera. The formidable artistic director William Kentridge has brought his magnetically animated production of Berg’s Lulu to the ENO stage, and for an English conversion it seemed to work so, so well.
Alban Berg didn’t live long enough to finish his three-act opera, and it was in the hands of Friedrich Cerha to complete the final and most ghastly act where our lead character is murdered by London’s mysterious killer – Jack the Ripper.
The narrative of Lulu isn’t, at all, complicated, yet the musical mastery of Berg’s score shows the depth of his innovation, out of the Second Viennese School, with expressionist composers Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern. Berg wrote his second opera, after a successful Wozzeck, during a time in Germany where women were repressed, and writing Lulu was his escapism.