Netherlands Opera's new production of Lulu was a personal triumph for conductor Hartmut Haenchen, as well as for soprano Laura Aikin in the title role. Both demonstrated not only how beautiful Berg's music can be but how this beauty enhances the work's dramatic force. Haenchen's meticulously articulated lyricism was combined with a constant looking for thematic links and melodic lines, culminating in a passionate "love duet" for Lulu and Aiwa at the end of Act II. Haenchen announced that he'd chosen the unfinished version because he dislikes Friedrich Cerha's "heavy" instrumentation of Act III and believes that Berg himself would have made cuts before publishing the finished opera. Instead of Act III, Haenchen gave us only the adagio from the instrumental suite, closing with the last words of Countess Geschwitz; the result was a tight musical drama that can hold its place beside the three-act version. (...) The staging created an unwanted counterpoint with the transparency and delicacy in the playing of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the excellent contributions of the cast.