Set in Berlin in the 1930s the opera traces the rise to wealth of a young woman, LuLu, who is a victim, a criminal, a femme fatale and a naïve young girl.
LuLu initially is married to the rich but elderly Dr. Goll who dies of a stroke when he enters an artists’s studio to find that LuLu has succumbed to the artist’s advances. However she is now rich and enjoys the benefits of her inheritance in an elegant apartment. She marries the artist who becomes famous but dissatisfied with his life. Her friends from her former days still visit her, including Dr Schon, a former lover, who asks her to cease seeing him as her reputation is scandalous. The artist discovers this past affair with Schon and kills himself. LuLu is unmoved by his death, decides she wants to marry Schon. As the Opera progresses LuLu becomes involved with many other men, most of whom try to tame her but do not succeed.
The crash of the 1930s leaves her penniless and she lives precariously in some backstreet rooms that she shares with her father, an old beggar, and a former countess who is also without money. Lu Lu is now very ill and is finally murdered by a man who she brings home. Throughout the opera LuLu is seemingly unmoved by all the tragedies, the wealth, the friends that she encounters and even in her last dire situation she accepts her fate.
The Met’s production was stunning with contemporary scenery that matched the fragmented story of her life. A difficult opera for the singers, but well handled by Marlis Petersen as LuLu.