Just in: Russians ban Berg’s Lulu

Just in: Russians ban Berg’s Lulu


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2018

The Minister of Culture of the Perm Region, Vyacheslav Torchinsky, has forbidden the Perm Opera and Ballet from using public funds to perform Alban Berg’s opera Lulu in the coming year.

He says it’s ‘too complicated’ for the public.

The conductor, Teodor Currentzis, is not best pleased.

More here.



  • Furzwängler says:

    Sounds as though the age of the repressive former Minister of Culture of the USSR, the wonderfully named Yekaterina Furtseva, may be returning in some parts of the country.

  • Mark Hildrew says:

    ==Teodor Currentzis is not best please

    TC is a wonder. Was just listening to his Les Noces, which at first seems a strange bedfellow companion to the CD of the PatKop Tchaikovsky Violin Cto. But actually maybe it’s a good match given how earthy he makes them sound. A lot in common.

  • Steve says:

    hmm.. maybe ‘complicated’ is just a pseudonym for ‘decadent’ or ‘degenerate’ ?..

  • MSC says:

    Dictators, their lackies, and the dictatorially inclined generally don’t like and distrust anything they can’t understand. Thoughts of Kerzhentsev, Stalin, and “degenerate” art readily come to mind.

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    I’ve been old fashioned since I was in High school so I agree with the Minister of Culture. Lulu is an opera for the ultra elite.

    • John Rook says:

      …or just for the intelligent.

    • Novagerio says:

      Do you have the same problem with Egon Schiele? Have you read Gerhart Hauptmann and/or Frank Wedekind?…Perhaps this version of Lulu fits more to your “limitted” taste?…

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Yes indeed, the same ‘ultra elite’ that has deep aesthetical experiences when looking at pickled sharks and inverted urinals.

    • HugoPreuß says:

      Nonsense. A compelling drama and music to match the characters. A lot of 20th century music is difficult and, indeed, may be said to be written for the ultra elite. But Lulu and Wozzeck are not among them, and while many 20th century operas are box office poison, these two are not. They sell at the box office, and you don’t nearly that many “ultra elite” people around to fill the theaters. Lighten up. There *is* music beyond Puccini. Besides, even if you and the Minister were right: that is still no reason to shut down the production.

  • David H Spence says:

    I enjoy the comment on the Tchaikovsky and Les Noces. Not an artist I always like, but look up the Kremer/Maazel recording, especially for Gidon Kremer on of course the Tchaikovsky. In regards to Lulu, has Teodor Currentzis spoken up yet? He has recorded Wozzeck, I think.

  • Sharon says:

    I do not know why it is any more elitist than a good novel, film or play, although it is certainly not light or could be considered entertainment. It would not be the type of program one would want for summer tourists.

    I believe that Lulu does an incredible job of capturing the mood in pre WWII Germany and does a lot to explain how Germany could and did move into Nazism.

    It also clearly explained how poor women of that era could become passive victims with nothing to trade but their sexuality.

    Perhaps Russia, which still, with justification, venerates its role in WWII, does not want Germany or Germans of that era portrayed sympathetically.

    Nevertheless there is no excuse for censorship.