A Lulu of an opera

Pasatiempo - - RANDOM ACTS - -J.M.K

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

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