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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Einstein on the Beach
Philip Glass
Christopher Knowles, Lucinda Childs, and Samuel M. Johnson
Robert Wilson (Director/Designer)
U.S. Premiere: George Andoniadis, Connie Beckley, Ritty Ann Burchfield, Lucinda Childs, Frank Conversano, Andrew deGroat, Charles Dennis, Grethe Holby, Jeannie Hutchins, Mark Jacoby, Samuel M. Johnson, Paul Mann, Richard Morrison, Dana Reitz, Marie Rice, Ronald Roxbury, Sheryl L. Sutton, Robert Wilson, David P. Woodberry; Robert Brown, violin; Iris Hiskey, solo voice; additional singers: Bruce Burroughs and Forrest Warren
July 25, 1976
Festival d'Avignon
The piece is a meditation on the dangers and possibilities of Einstein's "Theory of Relativity." Central themes explore a train (used by Einstein to explain relativity), a trial (exploring the dangers of nuclear weapons), and a spaceship (exploring the possibilities of science).
2 female actors
1 male actor
1 child actor
(all are speaking roles)
The Village Voice, Kyle Gann, 12-15-92; The New York Times, James R. Oestreich, 11-8-92; Time, Michael Walsh, 7-2-90; International Herald Tribune, David Stevens, 6-22-90; The Wall Street Journal, Mark Swed, 6-10-90; Time, Michael Walsh, 6-3-85; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 12-17-84; The New York Times, Stephen Holden, 12-16-84; The New York Times, Robert T. Jones, 12-2-84; Stereo Review, Eric Salzman, 9-79; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 3-11-79; The New York Times, Robert Palmer, 5-28-78; New York, Thomas B. Hess, 12-13-76; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 12-6-76; Time, Joan Downs, 12-6-76; The New York Times, Mel Gussow, 11-28-76; The New York Times, Clive Barnes, 11-23-76; The New York Times, Mel Gussow, 11-19-76; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 8-1-76; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 3-8-76
Robert Wilson is credited with the work's basic conception and visual realization; some text by Robert Wilson.
SATB (16 voices)
amp S; fl (pic, bcl), fl (ssx), tsx (asx)/ 2syn
Minimalism; through-composed with various spoken texts; repeated syllables (solfège) and numbers; the piece centers on visual themes
Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. or G. Schirmer, Inc.(agent)
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
2009 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase
Einstein on the Beach
Elise Sandell
Elise Sandell
Liz Freese, Gordon W. Olson
Keturah Stickann

“’What a piece of work is man.’ The intersection of science, philosophy, progress and art is seen through the eyes and history of Albert Einstein in the context of modern life: Einstein as the Everyman. Beyond his designations as the most famous scientist in history, the ‘man of the century’ and the inventor of the theory of relativity, Einstein was first and foremost a man; a man with big ideas that changed our world and are still changing it today. This will be a personal and narrative approach to Einstein’s life and work. His work was personal, and his personality, story, beliefs and relationships affected his discoveries. This piece is as much a memory play and a cultural portrait as it is a landmark opera. It is from this spot in history where our audience stands now that we view this man and his achievements; we are characters in this opera, too. Modern popular culture elements will interact with and frame Einstein’s story, which will be told by an ensemble of performers comprised of actors, chorus, dancers and children who appear together throughout the piece. Through the use of still projection and video we’ll explore Einstein’s predecessors, his writings, his influence over our culture and even our own future. This production will follow the opera’s lead and explore Einstein’s personality … equal parts hardworking, cocky, playful and reverent. The concrete narrative story of his life can turn abstract as quickly as an apple dropping from the tree. The ramifications of physics and our views of them from the present can pop up suddenly, both onstage and on screen. Normal action can suddenly turn to dance, just as Einstein’s theories were a form of art in their own right. Instrumentalists will be onstage and involved in the action. Our main character was able to see space and time in a whole new way, and we’ll explore that on the stage, sometimes using live video of the performance itself.”
About the 2011 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase
This bi-annual program is offered as part of OPERA America’s continuing effort to foster emerging opera artists. The showcase, made possible through support from the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, has been established to bring promising talent to the attention of the field and connect promising directors and designers with those who are in a position to advance their careers. Twenty-seven director-driven teams submitted proposals for consideration in this second showcase round. Four finalist teams were selected by panelists Donald Eastman, designer; Kevin Patterson, general director, Austin Lyric Opera; Tazewell Thompson, stage director; and Diane Wondisford, producing director, Music-Theatre Group. As opera is an intrinsically collaborative art form, the projects chosen were selected not only because they demonstrate the requisite creativity and skill, but because they display true collaboration, creative vibrancy and collective passion.

Each team is given $2,000 to be used toward further research and the production of more comprehensive renderings and models. Up to two representatives from each finalist team receive travel, lodging and registration to attend Opera Conference 2011 in Boston, MA to present their proposals to opera producers at a special session and to network with conference attendees.
Schedule of Performances Listings
Einstein on the Beach (Glass)
Friday, October 11, 2013 - Los Angeles Opera
Einstein on the Beach (Glass)
Friday, June 01, 2007 - State Opera of South Australia

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One

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