Music: Lulu Is the Toast of Paris

After 43 years a modern masterpiece is finally complete

Three of opera's "great progressivists," Igor Stravinsky once declared, were Gluck, Wagner—and the Viennese modernist Alban Berg. Stravinsky was not being merely provocative. As the years go by, Berg's claim to belong in such illustrious company looks more and more secure. It rests on two complex, powerful works, Wozzeck and Lulu, that in effect brought opera into the 20th century. Lulu, in particular, packed traditional operatic emotion and drama into the most advanced of forms, the twelve-tone system devised by Berg's teacher, Arnold Schoenberg.


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