Lulu - Royal Opera House, 8 June 2009
This was a lot better second time round. With the pressure of opening night behind her, Agneta Eichenholz sang cleanly and securely throughout, Klaus Florian Vogt was more focussed, and the action progressed more confidently. I didn't even notice any amplification on the speaking voices, which I guess means it was done more adeptly this time.
And was it my imagination, or was did the singers move downstage to sing more often? Evidently some changes had been made, because Alwa was murdered (as per Berg's stage directions) this time, instead of committing suicide as Loy had rewritten for the opening night.
There were certainly fewer inaudible episodes. That was partly down to Pappano, who sat on the orchestra every time a singer opened their mouth. Lulu is hardly a classic 'singers' opera' in the bel canto sense, but that's how Pappano treated it, with the orchestra alternately blooming forth gloriously and shrinking into a backing band. Most strange, and often at odds with the drama.
There were, unusually, cameras at the front of the stalls as well as the back to capture this performance, presumably for future DVD release.The clarity of this simply-set production remains its strength, something I suspect will be even more obvious when it's seen on screen.