© Andrew Clements – The Guardian: “In Engels’ semi-abstract set of metal rails and ladders, Pountney’s production preserves not only the surrealist elements in the plot, but all its absurdist trappings; it’s a black comedy, and one which gets blacker and bleaker as it goes on, holding up a mirror to the excesses of human behaviour. There’s no film sequence at the midpoint of the second act, but a scene and costume change in full view of the audience, as if emphasising the artificiality of the whole savage fable.”

© Peter Marks – Bachtrack: “Johan Engels’ coolly modern set design was a contrast to the Victorian settings shown in photographs from (incomplete) early productions of the opera. Much of the action revolved around a central spiral staircase made of metal, which was surrounded by metal gantries. Garishly coloured animal heads were worn in the opening menagerie scene and these featured again both in the casino party scene and the final macabre scene, in which the animal heads had been cleverly substituted with skulls.”

© Stephen Walsh – The Arts Desk: “Pountney himself seizes on strong hints in Berg to turn this dramaturgical jungle into a visual and theatrical delight, marvellously designed by Johan Engels, Marie-Jeanne Lecca and Mark Jonathan. The menagerie of Wedekind’s prologue becomes a motif for the whole production, spawning some unforgettable animal masks and coloured costumes.”

© Chris Williams – The Reviews Hub: “The set, designed by Johan Engels, appears simple at first, a circular scaffolding-type structure with spiral steps in the middle, but it includes moving parts and opens up revealing intricacies as the opera moves along. Apart from two scenes, where it is changed simply by lighting and a few chairs, it remains cold and bare, mirroring the feel of the opera itself. Added to this, the corpses (dummy replicas) of Lulu’s husbands hang from above, looking down on the action in judgement like a macabre jury.”

© Mark Valencia – Classical Source: “The designer, Johan Engels, houses the action inside an imposing gilded set that manages to suggest a lion-tamer’s cage, a circus ring, Frankenstein’s laboratory and an erotic dance club. In Act Two Engels adds a giant bed made of female body parts, into which both the Countess and the Schoolboy dive with lustful gusto.”