Lulu at the Met

I’ve just come back from a performance of Berg’s Lulu, at

the Metropolitan Opera. It’s a great piece, of course, although weirdly

much of the audience didn’t seem to think so: it was noticeably thinner

by the end than it was at the beginning. I don’t really understand

this: it’s not like people buy tickets to Lulu thinking they’re

getting Puccini. And the crowd was definitely younger than normal

at the Met, something else I found surprising: I don’t see why Lulu

should attract a particularly younger audience than, say, Moses

und Aron or the newly-commissioned version of The Great Gatsby

I went to see there.

I also had a piece of luck; whether it was good or bad I wasn’t sure

to begin with. The eponymous role was meant to have been sung by Christine

Schäfer, who got rave reviews. But she was ill, and instead her

golden stilettos were filled by Cyndia Sieden, someone I shouldn’t

imagine one audience member in a hundred had heard of. I did a little

web search on her when I got back home, and as far as I can make out

she’s a coloratura Mozart specialist who has never done anything like

this at all.

And this wasn’t just outside her natural Mozart turf, it was also

her Metropolitan Opera debut: imagine walking out onto the stage of

the Met, a nerve-racking experience in the smallest of rôles,

and then having to sing Lulu! Understandably, she was a bit shaky

to begin with, and even towards the end she found it quite hard to

project in the spoken parts. Also, while Lulu is certainly

romantic, it’s not mushy, and she did have a tendency to heap on the

syrup a little bit when it came to the high bits.

That said, however, Sieden grew enormously in confidence over the

course of the evening, and by the harrowing end she was Lulu.The

cast, the audience and James Levine all gave her an enormous round

of applause, which was very well deserved.

It’s at times like these that you remember that opera is a theatrical

art, and that the audience and the performers really do connect. Especially

in this production, which had a fair few Brechtian touches such as

the singers referring directly to the Concertmeister Levine,

by the end the successful staging of this performance, with

this lead soprano, was an individual triumph.Sieden might not

be one of the world’s great Lulus, but she touched us, here, tonight.

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1 Response to Lulu at the Met

  1. Nancy says:

    Watching their talents like singing, dancing , plying instruments, etch., its very amazing they are gifted and priceless treasure that no one could ever steal.

    Nancy from portail bois 

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