By Alban Berg
Designed for the English National Opera by Kimie Nishikawa
1/2" scale model
Model Lighting by Sarah Abigail Hoke-Brady
A ring master introduces the story in terms of crude animal characteristics with Lulu as a snake. We are introduced to the space, which is inhabited by a large number of men. It is a male dominant space.
Lulu is married to Dr.Goll but is the mistress of Dr.Schon, a newspaper editor-in-chief. Dr. Schon and his son Alwa, a composer, are present while Lulu is having her portrait painted. When the two of them leave, the Painter pursues Lulu Amorously. Her husband unexpectedly arrives and dies from shock at what he sees.
Ten men will surround the body of Dr.Goll and carry it away. The portrait will be hung on the center wall by the same men.
Now married to the Painter, Lulu is visited by Schigolch, a decrepit old man who is mentioned to be her father but the true relationship is unclear. She is also visited by Dr.Schon. Although he intends to make a socially respectable marriage, Dr. Schon cannot throw off the fascination which Lulu exerts on him. The Painter has not realized that his wife has been living under the “protection” of Dr. Schon. He now learns it and kills himself. Lulu is unmoved.
-Interlude(3:05)- a group of men will come in to take away the body. A sign that says ‘Now Showing Lulu’ will be tacked onto her portrait.
As a theatrical dancer, Lulu is in her dressing room. She is talking to Alwa about an African prince that wants to marry her. She is then called on stage. Suddenly, having realized that Dr. Schon and his fiancée are in the audience, she returns and refuses to perform. Dr. Schon, Alwa and others enter the dressing-room. Only when she has totally humiliated Dr. Schon, compelling him to write a letter of renunciation to his fiancée, does she consent to continue the show. Curtain falls.
Lulu is put on to the chaise by Harry. The painting is now hanging above the staircase. Dr. Schon is now married to Lulu but racked by jealousy of her admirers, even of Countess Geschwitz. Leaving the house for a little while, he returns to find Lulu surrounded by adoring males – his own son Alwa, an athlete, a schoolboy. Dr. Schon produces a revolver and demands that she should shoot herself.
She kills him.
10 men from the anonymous group of men enter and take Lulu away. She is led to the balcony her hands in cuffs and is watching the movement below. Other men gather around Dr. Schons body and take him away. Geschwitz sits on he chaise and longs for Lulu. Alwa takes down the portrait of Lulu and leans it against the SL wall facing inward. Seeing her picture taken away, Harry carries her off stage.
In the same room, some months later, Lulu’s associates are planning her escape from prison – to which she was condemned for murdering Dr. Schon. Countess Geschwitz, self-sacrificingly, goes to smuggle herself into prison in Lulu’s place. The athlete plans to take Lulu away with him as a circus performer, but on her arrival he realizes with disgust that she has grown too thin and weak. Instead it is Alwa who succumbs to the woman who killed his father. They agree to go away together. Curtain falls.
In their new and luxurious (Parisian) home, Lulu and Alwa are entertaining guests. Gambling, eating and drinking, the company is confident to the ever-rising value of their railway shares. But, because she is still wanted by the police as an escaped murderess, lulu is blackmailed by the athlete and by a pimp, the Marquis, who want to sell her to a brothel in Cairo. Suddenly, the news comes that the railway shares have crashed. The company breaks up in recriminations. By quickly changing clothes with a young groom, Lulu manages to escape with Alwa just before the men arrive to take her away.
The Marquis and men exit, all glancing at the portrait. Geschwitz appears and takes the portrait away. The men start to appear from everywhere and inhabit the space as the prologue. The men who have died also appear. Lulu walks on stage from SL under the stairs. It is the street of London.
Living in dire poverty in an attic with Alwa and Schigolch, Lulu is reduced to casual prostitution. Geschwitz arrives, bringing the portrait which she salvaged from Paris. A Negro client of Lulu’s kills Alwa. While jack, another client, is with Lulu, Geschwitz resolves to start a new life as a champion of women’s rights. Suddenly there is a scream: jack the Ripper has killed Lulu. On his way out he also stabs the Countess, who utters her devotion to Lulu and dies.