William Kentridge’s "Lulu" debuts at the Dutch National Opera

The South African artist brings a foreboding theatrical vision to Alan Berg’s famous liberetto piece.
william kentridge new opera lulu
William Kentridge's new opera Lulu

William Kentridge's bold staging of the classic opera, Lulu, premieres 1 June at the Dutch National Opera, in co-production with the Metropolitan Opera New York and the English National Opera. Kentridge's new adaptation adopts a contemporary approach with an aesthetic inspired by the silent film era.

The lifespan of the piece is well known and begins with Alan Berg, who started working on the opera in the early 1920s. Struggling with it for many years, Berg left the orchestration incomplete with his death in 1935 and Friedrich Cerha only completed it much later, in 1979.

Set designer Sabine Theunissen and projection director Catherine Meyburgh, both longtime collaborators, have helped to create a foreboding set with a sharp Art Deco-inspired design and large background projections of Kentridges’ expressive ink sketches. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra's dramatic sweeping instrumentation will contribute to the dark and violent mood of the opera.

"The ink becomes the black blood that is spilt throughout the productions,” says Kentridge – an intriguing teaser for what to expect from the highly anticipated opera, starring the well-regarded German soprano Mojca Erdmann as Lulu.

For more information concerning ticket purchases and times, visit the Dutch National Opera website.

Watch the Talk with William Kentridge