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EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH
An Opera in Four Acts
ROBERT WILSON & PHILIP GLASS
Choreography by
Lucinda Childs

Winner of the 2013 Olivier Award for Best New Opera

 

Widely credited as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, this rarely performed work launched its director Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass to international success when it was first produced in Avignon, France in 1976 with subsequent performances in Europe and in New York at the Metropolitan Opera. It is still recognized as one of their greatest masterpieces. Now, nearly four decades after it was first performed and twenty years since its last production, Einstein on the Beach will be reconstructed for a major international tour including the first performances in the United Kingdom and the first North American presentations ever held outside of New York City. The international tour of Einstein on the Beach will begin in the spring 2012 bringing this ground-breaking work to new audiences and an entirely new generation.

Einstein on the Beach breaks all of the rules of conventional opera. Instead of a traditional orchestral arrangement, Glass chose to compose the work for the synthesizers, woodwinds and voices of the Philip Glass Ensemble. Non-narrative in form, the work uses a series of powerful recurrent images as its main storytelling device shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences created by American choreographer Lucinda Childs. It is structured in four interconnected acts and divided by a series of short scenes or "knee plays". Taking place over five hours, there are no traditional intermissions. Instead, the audience is invited to wander in and out at liberty during the performance.

Einstein on the Beach

Einstein on the Beach was revolutionary when first performed and is now considered one of the most remarkable performance works of our time. The New York Times art critic and producer John Rockwell has said of seeing Einstein on the Beach for the first time: "Einstein was like nothing I had ever encountered. For me, its very elusiveness radiated richly, like some dark star whose effects we can only feel. The synergy of words and music seemed ideal." He continued "Einstein on the Beach, perhaps, like Einstein himself, transcended time. It's not (just) an artifact of its era, it's timeless... Einstein must be seen and re-seen, encountered and savored....an experience to cherish for a lifetime."

The 2012 production of Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts was commissioned by: BAM; the Barbican, London; Cal Performances University of California, Berkeley; Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; De Nederlandse Opera/The Amsterdam Music Theatre; Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Rousillon; University Musical Society of the University of Michigan


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Performance History

1976

Festival d’Avignon Avignon, France
Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Germany
Festival d’Automne, Opera Comique Paris, France
BITEF Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Venice Biennale Venice, Italy
La Monnaie Brussels, Belgium
Rotterdamse Schouwburg Rotterdam, Holland
Metropolitan Opera House New York, NY

1984

Next Wave/Brooklyn Academy of Music Brooklyn, NY

1992

McCarter Theater (Previews) Princeton, NJ
Die Oper Am Theaterplatz Frankfurt, Germany
Melbourne International Festival Melbourne, Australia
Gran Teatro Del Liceu Barcelona, Spain
Teatro Madrid Madrid, Spain
Art Sphere Tokyo, Japan
Next Wave/Brooklyn Academy of Music Brooklyn, NY
MC/93 Bobigny Bobingy, France

2012 - 2013

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