Met: Live in HD - Berg’s Lulu
@ 11:30 AM
Music Director James Levine—one of Lulu’s leading champions—conducts the Met’s new production from acclaimed artist and director William Kentridge (The Nose), who applies his unique vision to Berg’s opera. Marlis Petersen has excited audiences around the world with her portrayal of the title role, a wild journey of love, obsession, and death. The winning cast also features Susan Graham, Daniel Brenna, and Johan Reuter.
The Animal Tamer invites the audience to visit his menagerie—featuring “the serpent Lulu.”
Lulu is sitting for her portrait, observed by her lover, the wealthy publisher Dr. Schön. The Painter tries to seduce Lulu, just as her husband, the Physician, forces his way into the room and collapses in shock from a heart attack. Lulu realizes she is a rich widow.
Lulu and the Painter have married. She is surprised to learn that Schön—who found her on the streets years ago, gave her an education, and made her his mistress—has become engaged. Schigolch, an old man who may be Lulu’s father or a former lover, pays a visit. Schön now wants Lulu out of his life so that he can marry. When he reveals her past to her husband, the Painter cuts his throat in horror. Schön is shocked by Lulu’s cold reaction but she is convinced he will eventually marry her.
Weeks later, Lulu is appearing in a ballet composed by Schön’s son, Alwa. In her dressing room, she tells Alwa of her latest admirer, the Prince. Noticing Schön in the audience with his fiancée, Lulu refuses to dance. Schön appears and asks her not to stop his marriage but then realizes he can’t let her go. At Lulu’s dictation, he writes a letter to his fiancée to break off the engagement.
Now married to Schön, Lulu continues to attract admirers, among them the lesbian Countess Geschwitz. The Countess, Schigolch, an Acrobat, and a Schoolboy gather at the Schön house and all three men declare their love to Lulu. Alwa also confesses his feelings for her. The distraught Schön demands that Lulu shoot herself to protect his reputation. Lulu replies that she has never pretended to be anything but what she is. When Schön forces her to her knees, Lulu shoots him in the back and begs Alwa not to turn her over to the police.
An interlude depicts Lulu’s arrest, trial, imprisonment, commitment to the hospital with cholera, and the plans for her escape: the Countess is to take Lulu’s place in the hospital.
Alwa, together with the Countess and the Acrobat, awaits Lulu’s return in Schön’s former apartment. The Acrobat is appalled by her wasted appearance and threatens to betray her to the police. Alone with Lulu, Alwa again proclaims his love and agrees to go to Paris with her.
At Lulu’s birthday party in Alwa’s Paris mansion, several men try to blackmail her over Schön’s murder. Lulu breaks into tears. News spreads that the shares of a railway company that many of the guests had invested in have collapsed—everyone is ruined. In the confusion Lulu escapes, just as the police arrive.
In a shabby garret in London, Alwa, now a derelict, and Schigolch await Lulu’s return from her first night as a prostitute. She arrives with a client. Then the now destitute Countess appears, bringing with her Lulu’s portrait. Lulu and her three admirers contemplate how their fate has been bound up with the picture. Lulu leaves and returns with another client. In an attempt to protect her, Alwa attacks the client and is killed by him. Lulu rushes out into the street again. Schigolch drags Alwa’s body away and disappears. The Countess considers suicide when Lulu arrives with yet another customer, Jack the Ripper. They argue about money, then go into her room. Suddenly Lulu is heard screaming—Jack has killed her. The Countess tries to help but Jack stabs her as well. He leaves as the dying Countess cries out for Lulu.