Lulu the Opera. Grand Theatre Leeds

Lulu – an opera by Alban Berg

Grand Theatre, Leeds

Directed by John Fulljames

Set and Costumes Designed by Fly Davis

Lulu is about the rise and fall of Lulu through society and we set it in 1925 abstracted Vienna. Her life and the score of the opera is cyclic. The structure of the opera itself has a palindrome. This is why I used 2 revolves with a stationary central circle. The structures on the revolves are connected to a tracking system above.

The curved walls were inspired by Narrenturn, the Viennese mental asylum.  The opera was written at the time of Freud and psychoanalysis. Lulu herself suffers from this sense of entrapment and mania where her life has become cyclic and tragic. Vienna was renowned for prostitution and hidden doors and secret rooms where such deeds occurred out of sight of the polished respectable streets. This was why the outsides of the walls as well as the masking is brickwork in black gloss and within is an abstracted environment of decay.

The red slowly creeping into the space throughout the piece,  was inspired by the artist George Grosz and how he saw the world in which he was living – a brutal, sinful one filled with passion and prostitution. The red also symbolises Lulu herself, it is also used in the costumes. Everyone in the opera is in love with Lulu whom I have given partially red painted skin, the other characters desire to somehow take hold of her so they wear elements of red on their muted pallets.

 

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