LULU by Alban Berg, based on the plays Erdgeist and Die Büchse der Pandora by Frank Wedekind
Conductor: Lothar Zagrosek
Cast: R. Caine, V. Braun, E. Golden, B. McCauley, D. Adams, T. Baerg, M. Myers
Production: D. McLane (scenery), S. Mess (clothes), S. Ross (lighting)

“Three and a half hours of sex and violence, otherwise known as Lulu made a welcome return to Toronto, 11 years after the COC’s first production of the completed three-act opus. As impressive as that earlier, Lotfi Mansouri production was, the new one, directed by Nicholas Muni, turned out to be even more striking in its innovations. Choosing an opera within an opera format, Muni treated Alwa as the composer, sometimes standing aside and viewing his creation, sometimes entering into it as one of the characters. While its busy audacity may have irritated those desirous of seeing Berg’s specific directorial instructions obeyed (instead of following the prescribed animal trainer and menagerie opening, Muni had Theodore Baerg introduce the proceedings, script in hand, as a theatrical offering, with the cast marching behind a scrim in civilian attire) the production’s visual flamboyance produced such startling effects as having Lulu’s portrait turned into a close-up of her eye and sometimes into a self-revealing mirror.”
William Littler, OPERA CANADA (April, 1991)

“Canadian Opera Company’s new Lulu proved extraordinarily exciting. The achievement reflected a skillful three-way balancing act among director Nicholas Muni, whose innovative theatricality arose from a profound understanding of Berg’s score as well as Wedekind’s drama, conductor Lothar Zagrosek and the protagonist Rebecca Caine. This Lulu inhabited the world of the theater itself, with the composer Alwa dressed as Berg. The stage, in Derek McLane’s thrilling designs was dominated by a high wall with seven doors, running diagonally across the stage. The macabre farce of the piece was expressed by rapid-fire traffic through the doorways, which opened to reveal both pop images and Grand Guignol. Mysticism and symbolism were reflected in witty, powerful projections. Muni’s production was filled with inventions that advanced understanding of the narrative and its creator’s sardonic yet obsessive intentions.”
Urjo Kareda, OPERA NEWS (September, 1991)

“The vamp’s adventures unfolded within the ambitious stage conception of Nicholas Muni, who cast Berg within his own opera as the composer Alwa. This approach was worked out here with considerable panache, realistic stagecraft and abstract schematism flowing into each other with little discontinuity.”
Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail (April, 1991)

“This is an absolutely sensational production of Lulu. To those familiar with this lurid and incredibly complex opera, nothing more need be said. On the other hand, for those who don’t know about Lulu, getting across why this production is so remarkable may be an insurmountable problem. This is an ensemble triumph by the Canadian Opera, but if this were a hockey game, the first star would have to go to the intricate and superb collaboration among director Nicholas Muni and set designer Derek McLane. They create a visual aura that lies in a bizarre and unreal land strewn with more surreal and expressionist symbols than the eye and mind can absorb…one of the company’s greatest dramatic and musical triumphs.”
Herman Trotter, The Buffalo News (April, 1991)

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