A Lulu of an opera
Lulu is not an opera about nice people. Every character seems to be gaming somebody else; in the circus-inspired prologue, the animal tamer introduces the snake as the mascot, and when it is brought in, it turns out to be Lulu herself. Anyway, you’ve got your sexual harassment, your marital infidelities, your prostitution, your suicide, your ambisexual affairs, your blackmail, your stock-market collapse, your murders (by poison, by gunshot, by strangulation, by stabbing). You even get a love scene that climaxes in one of opera’s most seductive lines, “Isn’t this the sofa on which your father bled to death?” Alban Berg’s score is not exactly a walk in the park; in fact, it’s not even all by Berg, since he died before completing the last of its three acts. That said, this opera exerts undeniable magnetism, and the score is among the dramatic masterpieces of 12-tone composition. The Metropolitan Opera gives Berg’s opera in Friedrich Cerha’s completion, and its new, film-infused production, directed by William Kentridge, should exert appeal on culturati drawn to both the visual and musical arts. The Met: Live in HD broadcast of Lulu, to be screened at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco St.), begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, and runs for nearly four hours. The cast includes Marlis Petersen in the title role and Santa Fe’s own Susan Graham as the lesbian Countess Geschwitz, who gets the opera’s last word after she and Lulu are both knifed by Jack the Ripper. Those who wish to show their support may acquire entry ($22-$28) via www.ticketssantafe.org or by calling 505-988-1234.
Marlis Petersen; photo Ken Howard