Einstein on the Beach © T, Charles Erickson 1992
…Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon is scheduled to present the world premiere of Einstein on the Beach at the Opera Berlioz Le Corum on March 17 and 18, 2012. From May 4—13, 2012, the Barbican will present the first-ever UK performances of the work in conjunction with the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival. The North American premiere at the June 2012 Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity represents the first North American presentation ever held outside of New York City. The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 2012 Next Wave Festival will once again be home to the New York premiere, having presented the 1984 and 1992 iterations. Having never before been presented on the West Coast, the production will run for two weeks in the fall of 2012 at Cal Performances on the University of California, Berkeley campus.
The tour is currently slated to conclude at Amsterdam’s De Nederlandse Opera/The Amsterdam Music Theatre in January 2013. Before the tour, in January 2012, the entire Einstein on the Beach company will be in residence at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, whose University Musical Society will host technical rehearsals and early previews.
Einstein on the Beach defies 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 shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences created by American choreographer Lucinda Childs and constructed in the classical principle of theme and variation. The opera consists of four acts that are connected by a series of short scenes or “knee plays.” The performance lasts nearly five hours and has no traditional intermissions; instead, the audience is invited to wander in and out at liberty.
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