Berg: Lulu

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: DG Originals
PERFORMER: Teresa Stratas, Yvonne Minton, Hanna Schwarz, Franz Mazura, Kenneth Riegel, Toni Blankenheim, Robert Tear, Helmut Pampuch, Gerd Nienstedt; Paris Opera Orchestra/Pierre Boulez
CATALOGUE NO: 463 617-2 Reissue (1979)
Reissued in DG’s Originals series, this version of Berg’s final masterpiece in Friedrich Cerha’s completion is a compulsory purchase, not only as a historic document – the recording was made in conjunction with the 1979 Paris world premiere of the three-Lulu – but as a superb account of the opera in its own right. There has been no other Lulu on record as touching as Teresa Stratas, no Alwa more strongly characterised than Kenneth Riegel’s, while Pierre Boulez’s conducting is a model of Bergian lucidity, perfectly shaped and balanced.


The other three-act Lulus on disc – from Chandos and EMI – are no competition at all, but there are aspects of the two classic sets of the two-act score worth close attention: Karl Böhm’s affectionate conducting (DG) represents another equally valid approach and he has a peerless Dr Schön in Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, while Christoph Dohnányi’s recording (Decca) has the phenomenal Anja Silja in the title role. For the full opera, though, Boulez remains unbeatable. Andrew Clements