Ballet & Dance

New Production
Music by Alban Berg (1937)
4 performances

February 8(Tue)6:30pm, 11(Fri)3:00pm, 14(Mon)6:30pm, 17(Thu)2:00pm 2005
Approximate running time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Conductor: Stefan Anton Reck
Director: David Pountney
Scenery Design: Robert Israel
Costume Design: Sue Blane

Lulu: Sato Shinobu
Gräfin Geschwitz: Koyama Yumi
Dr. Schön: Claudio Otelli
Alwa: Nagata Mineo
Schigolch: Hartmut Welker

One of the greatest masterpieces in 20th-century opera, Lulu enjoys immortal fame as the high-water mark of operatic art. A composer of the Second Vienna School, Alban Berg left two operas, Wozzeck and Lulu, both of which are performed as part of the repertoire of Western opera houses today. Based on Frank Wedekind’s dramas Erdgeist (Earth Spirit) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box), Berg wrote a libretto for the opera himself and composed using the dodecaphonic (twelve-note) system. With its elaborate music, the opera successfully portrays the wandering life of Lulu, a femme fatale. The Austrian composer died in 1935 with Act III unfinished, and since Mrs. Berg prohibited the completion and performance of Act III, Lulu was staged as a two-act opera for some 40 years after it was first performed in Zurich in 1937. The complete three-act version with its Act III additionally orchestrated by Friedrich Cerha premiered in Paris in 1979. Subsequently, it has been customary for the three-act version to be staged, although there has been much controversy in the past over the appropriateness of the additional orchestration. The three-act version will be used for the NNTT production. Sato Shinobu will take on the challenge of singing Lulu, one of the most difficult soprano roles, which requires personal beauty and acting power as well as singing ability. The conductor will be Stefan Anton Reck, a young artist currently attracting public attention. His broad repertoire ranges from Italian opera to contemporary works, and the performance of Lulu at the Teatro Massimo di Parelmo was recorded live and released in the form of compact disk. The director will be David Pountney, a native of Britain, who has been the topic of conversation in the past for his direction in Japan in 1995 of Madama Butterfly based on its premiere version.
Lulu’s patron and former lover, Dr. Schön, a newspaper editor-in-chief, arranges Lulu’s marriage to someone else to break away from her bewitching powers. Her husbands, however, die an unnatural death one after another with the first, a medical specialist, dying of a heart attack and the second, a painter, killing himself with a razor. Unable to free himself from Lulu’s domination, Dr. Schön finally marries her. Around Lulu, who lives as free and unrestrained a life as before, gather her dubious admirers, including the lesbian Countess Geschwitz, the acrobat Rodrigo and the elderly Schigolch, who professes himself to be Lulu’s father. And even Dr. Schön’s son Alwa confesses his love for Lulu, and no longer able to tolerate the situation, Dr. Schön demands that Lulu kill herself with a pistol, but after an argument he is shot to death by her instead. Lulu is arrested but successfully escapes from prison as Countess Geschwitz takes her place. (The two-act version ends here.) Lulu flees to Paris and then to London with Alwa, but her fate follows a path of degradation. Ruined, she makes a living as a prostitute, but one of her clients clubs Alwa to death and she is finally killed by Jack the Ripper.
<Conductor> <Director> <Scenery Design>
Stefan Anton Reck David Pountney Robert Israel
<Main Cast>
  Sato Shinobu   Koyama Yumi  
Claudio Otelli Nagata Mineo Hartmut Welker