I enjoyed this production, but not as much as I thought I would! It boasts quite a strong cast, with every member giving their all, with Michael Volle deserving a special mention, in fact it is hard to criticise the performance as there is no weak point in the cast or orchestra. I don’t know what it is but it just does not sit properly for me, perhaps it is Vera Nemirova’s or Daniel Richter’s designs, I just know that it does not match up to the 1997 Gramophone Award winning DVD from Glyndebourne with Christine Schäfer in the title role.
I enjoyed Patricia Petibon’s depiction of Lulu, I found it more coquettish, if not sexy, than Schäfer, especially in the first act, but I disagree with Arnold Whittall in his Gramophone review (A/12), who seems to point to her background in early music giving her too much “vulnerability” in the role. She is after all the only singer to have two different recordings of this wonderful work in the catalogue, although I do find this production to be better than her 2011 DG one from the Licieu under the baton of Michael Boder, although this is more to do with the less than ideal supporting cast.
I find the angst and the sheer darkness of this opera are to be found more in Graham Vick’s production from Glyndebourne, which still remains as my first recommendation. Some may find the different approach of this new production preferable, but I found myself asking what would Berg think, and I believe he would recognise the wonderful Christine Schäfer at Glyndebourne to be more in keeping with his vision for the opera!