Berg: Lulu - Silja, Mödl, Kmennt, Blankenship, Hotter, Konetzni; Böhm. Wien, 1968
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It is truly amazing that a work composed in 1937 can still sound so ahead of its time even today. With Lulu, Berg took atonality to the next level from Wozzeck shedding some (but not all) of the vestigial romanticism that lingered in that opera. But unlike some of the works of Schoenberg and Webern, Lulu still has a lyricism that attracts some of the greatest singing actress to this role. And Anja Silja may very well be its ideal proponent. In the 60s Silja was defying logic and alternating dramatic roles, like Elektra and Isolde with coloratura roles, making the switch between the high lying melismatic passages and the dramatic outbursts that Lulu requires seem quite natural and seamless. And, of course, anyone who knows Silja's artistry knows that she was an actress of the highest order. The fact that Martha Mödl's voice was far beyond her prime in 1968 only makes Geschwitz seem all the more tragic and the scenes between the Mödl and Silja are electric. Waledmar Kmentt is an excellent Alwa and Hans Hotter finds an superb mix between avuncular and creepy in his approach to the role of Schigolch. It is worth noting that this performance includes some of the sketches for the then unfinished Act III which gives Mödl a great monologue. The sound is excellent.