Alban Berg

opera in three acts (the last incomplete)
composer: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
libretto: Alban Berg (based on two tragedies by Frank Wedekind: "Erdgeist"(1895) and "Die Buchse der Pandora" (1904))
first performance: 1937, Zurich
set and costume design: Fer Smidt, 1989


Costume design "Lulu" ; first act first scene

Costume design "Lulu" ; third act, fourth scene

Principal characters;
Animal trainer (prologue); bass
Lulu; soprano
Walter, the Painter; tenor
Dr. Ludwig Schon, newspaper editor; baritone
Alwa, his son, playwright; tenor
Schigolch, an old man; bass
Countess Geschwitz; mezzo-soprano


In the prologue, an animal trainer introduces the story as if it were taking place in a circus, with Lulu, one of the acts, represented by a snake.

Lulu's husband, Dr. Goll, dies, having had a heart attack at discovering Lulu in a compromising situation with a painter. The painter marries her, but commits suicide after her former lover, Dr. Schon, tells him of her past. Lulu, by nowa theatrical dancer, torces Dr. Schon to break off his engagement after threatening to elope with a prince, who loves her.

After Lulu has married Dr. Schon, she continues to receive numerous admirers, including her husband's son, Alwa. Eventually, she causes a confrontation, during which she shoots Dr. Schon dead.

Some months later, Lulu, about to be jailed tor murdering Dr. Schon, is saved by the Countess Geschwitz who is in love with her, and who arranges to smuggle herself into jail instead. Lulu seduces Alwa and they decide to run away together.

Eventually, Lulu escapes to London with Alwa, the Countess, and the elderly mysterious Schigolch. After the market crash, she is reduced to prostitution. One of her clients is Jack the Ripper, who kills both Lulu and the Countess.

After Alban Berg's death, the opera was left unfinished without the complete orchestration, and performances were given with the two completed acts and a conflation of the third, performed to the music of the composer's tulu Suite. The main reason tor this was the composer's widow, who refused to release the unpublished material. In 1976, after her death, the opera was completed, with Friedrich Cerha's orchestration. The first performance of the complete Lulu took place in Paris in 1979.

Savescreen, first act, first scene

First act, third scene

Second act, first scene

Third act, fourth scene