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Posted by Martin Walker on September 16, 2013, 11:02 am
Paul Corfield Godfrey states that "Of the seven rival versions of Lulu on DVD, all use the Cerha completion." Actually, you may check this statement, as I did, by looking at Amazon.uk. Arthaus has a brilliantly original production by Bechtolf starring Laura Aikin, who is perhaps the most overwhelming Lulu I have ever seen or heard (I taped this off German TV about a decade ago) - I say perhaps because Helga Pilarczyk in Hamburg in the 60s was in some ways incomparable; Anja Silja in Frankfurt was also pretty good. Both of the latter were before the Cerha revision, of course. I must say that musically the completion makes sense, particularly in the last scene - but the long Paris scene (3.1) has failed to make much impression - scenically or musically - on me in the three productions I have seen so far. In the curtailed version one does, of course, miss a lot of the final scene in London and thus the musical coherence of the opera is damaged - but I would recommend trying the Bechtolf production for its unique and rather shocking (as it should be) view of the work.|
Posted by Paul Corfield Godfrey on September 16, 2013, 1:03 pm, in reply to "http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Sept13/Berg_Lulu_101687.htm"
The version starring Laura Aikin to which Martin Walker refers is no longer listed as being available on ArchivMusic, although of course second-hand copies may be available through Amazon. I would however find it surprising that a production only ten years old would not have employed the Cerha completion, but in any event the Böhm recording is the only DVD in the current catalogue not to do so. |
Quite a bit of the Paris scene was of course completed by Berg himself, so its failure to make an impression cannot fairly be laid entirely at Cerha's door. I agree, as my review made clear, that we need to hear the opera complete as Berg conceived it. It is interesting to note that Joseph Wechsberg, reviewing (in Opera) the production from which this new DVD release derives, took it upon himself to 'have a go' at Berg, describing the opera as "tread[ing] a thin borderline between the sublime and the ridiculous." I would say we have come quite a long way since those days!
Posted by Martin Walker on September 16, 2013, 8:42 pm, in reply to "Re: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Sept13/Berg_Lulu_101687.htm"
I do think Berg might have reconsidered that Paris scene if he had lived, but in a review of the (relatively) new Pountney production Andrew Clements points out that the "problematic first scene of the third act" is shortened by about 10 minutes, which sounds about right to me. |
I find the following wording slightly unusual, Paul: "I would however find it surprising that a production only ten years old would not have employed the Cerha completion" - does your use of the counterfactual conditional here signify that you don't believe I have actually seen it? I have seen it, therefore your wording should be "I find it...did not employ..." I must also take issue with your hair-splitting about "available" - you do not say in your review "according to Archivmusic" and you do start by saying that there are only seven DVD editions. Anyway, surely in this day and age taking Archivmusic as the only criterion of availability is like believing the US Schwann LP catalog in the bad old days. I rest my case ;-)
Posted by Paul Corfield Godfrey on September 17, 2013, 2:50 pm, in reply to "Re: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/Sept13/Berg_Lulu_101687.htm"
Dear Martin |
I didn't mean to imply that I doubted your statement about the relevant DVD, just that I would have found it very surprising that the opera would have been presented at such a late date in a truncated form. I see from the Fanfare review of the DVD on its re-release in 2011 that Franz Welser-Möst took a deliberate decision not to include the Cerha Act III, but find his reasons for this to be rather odd - might I perhaps suggest that royalty payments might have lain behind the decision? Be that as it may, the original issue in 2002 is now shown as only available second hand and the later re-release appears to be no longer currently available from at least one major source.
Having not seen the Welser-Möst DVD I cannot of course compare it with the Böhm reading which I was reviewing; but the Fanfare review certainly implies that considerable alterations are made to Berg's original scenario, whereas Schenk's production sticks closely to the directions given in the score.
There are of course limits to an examination of what discs are available at the time of any review, and one can only take it on trust that ArchivMusic shows the issues that are currently readily purchasable. Of course there are always opportunities to make purchases elsewhere, and issues will certainly be available on Amazon which may not be in the current catalogues. I take your point about the unreliability of such listings, though.
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