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Thread: Opera in-Depth: Lulu

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  1. #16
    First Act

    Second scene


    The first words of that scene: "Eva?...Befehlen?" are just spoken, without any accompaniment. And then the marriage of Schön is announced. With the Painter singing “Ich finde, di siehst heute reizend aus” with the row 'Bells'. The short and sharp answers from Lulu, are accompanied by the strings. Lulu close her eyes, “du..du…” and the Painter left the scene with the timpani pounding du, du, du,...

    Chamber Music

    The woodwinds announce the arrival of Schigolch, playing his row. Lulu sings “Und die Harmonika” and the duet is built on 'Erdgeist' and 'Bells'. Then, with “Ich liege – und schalfe…” we can hear the saxophone and the horn, introducing the row 'Schön' and then 'Love's theme I' in the trombones and the strings.


    For the clash between Schön and Lulu, Berg is using a well known musical form: a sonata, with its two themes representing the masculine world of Schön, and the feminine world of Lulu. While Schön forcefully tries to persuade Lulu using his own row in an allegro energico, Lulu resists singing “Warum haben sie denn..” supported by the orchestra with the percussion instruments. Schön gets angry, and so does the orchestra. Then we start to hear the second theme, built on the row 'Gavota': “Bitte, wie Sie wünschen..”. Then Lulu, supported by the woodwinds and Schön, supported by the metals, sing their themes in reply and retort. While we hear in the orchestra 'Love theme I', Lulu says in sprechgesang, “Ween ich einem Menschen auf dieser Welt angehöre, gehöre ich Ilhnen..” Schön shouts “Lass mich aus dem Spiel..” and the row 'Destiny's Rythm' is introducing the Painter.

    Monorritmica (single rythm)

    'Destiny's Rythm''s row is ubiquitous while Schön and the Painter dialogue in sprechgesang, in a faster and faster tempo. “Du hast eine halbe Million geheiratet..” repeats and obsessed Schön over 'Lulu''s row. Finally, the Painter realises he has been tricked, sings “Alles Lüge..” and 'Destiny's Rythm' returns in the trombones. The tenor must ascend to a B3 and an C4, “Wenn ich weinen könnte! Oh, wenn ich schreien könnte” and all the scene dissolves into sprechgesang, while the Painter decides to kill himself... When Lulu discovers the body of her husband, the row 'Canzonetta' can be heard in the strings and Lulu sings accompanied by the trombones.


    We can her again the coda of Sonata, with ten bars forming magically 'Love theme I'. The strings start to play 'Schön' and Destiny's Rythm: E - A - C# - C#... until the final C flat.

  2. #17

    This is the pivotal scene of the opera, a fascinating piece of music. There are 62 bars, written as a palindrome (this is one word, a musical phrase in this case, that reads the same forward than backwards). This is the central arpegio of the score:

    It's based mainly in "Erdgeist" and "Every man for himself". We can hear the trumpets during Lulu's arrest, and then the fundamental row in the strings, with the laden atmosphere of protective custody. Again the trumpets (and the trombones), playing "Erdgeist" during the trial. We should Lulu's silhouette on the prison wall, just while hearing the central arpegio. The door of the cell opens, with a crescendo in the trumpets, enters Geschwitz. The transmission of cholera, in the strings and the trombones, then the hospital in the trumpets, using "Every man for himself", and finally the escape of Lulu with a tutti of the metals.

    This brief instrumental page follows an implacable and impeccable logic, both from a musical and a dramatic viewpoint. And to get its whole power, needs the silent film being showed following Berg's indications. Regrettably, this is something rather unusual today, with the stage directors using the opera for his own purposes, instead of the author's.


    Arrest --> Protective custody --> Trial --> Prison cell --> Prison cell --> Cholera --> Hospital --> Escape

  3. #18
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    And it's a palindrome.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  4. #19
    The ending of Lulu, in Act 3, is only available since Friedrich Cerha just put together all of Berg's notes and musical ideas.

    Berg wanted ever slower tempi:

    Presto ( = 184) Beginning

    Allegro ( = 138 ) The Countess arrives

    Allegretto ( = 100 ) Lulu and a Negro

    Moderato ( = 88 ) the death of Alwa

    Sostenuto ( = 76 ) The Countess's first monologue

    Andante ( = 67 ) Lulu's portrait

    Adagio ( = 58 ) Lulu and Jack arrive

    Lento ( = 52 ) The Countess's second monologue

    Largo ( = 46 ) Lulul's death

    Grave ( = 42 ) The Countess's death

    He also wanted that Lulu's three clients were performed by the same singers that have performed the role of her three husbands. Her victims, are now her executioners. So, in the end, Lulu and Jack the Ripper strike a deal, the Countess sings a beautiful monologue. We heard the voice of Lulu: “Nein! Nein!”, a tutti in the orchestra, Lulu is dead and Jack stabs the Countess. While Jack exits, a melody sounds in the violins, up and down like the dying breath of Geschwitz:

    “Lulu! Mein Engel! Lass dich noch einmal sehn! Ich bin dir nah! Bleibe dir nah! In Ewigkeit!”

    Lulu, Angel of Mine!. Wish I could see you once more! … I'm at your side!. I will remain at your side!. For Eternity!.

    Here we can see Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Countess Geschwitz), Patricia Petibon (Lulu) and Michael Volle (Jack):

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