Einstein on the Beach
Composer: Philip Glass
Librettist: Christopher Knowles, Lucinda Childs, and Samuel M. Johnson
Other Artistic Personnel: Robert Wilson (Director/Designer)
Original Cast: 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
Premiere Date: July 25, 1976
Producing Company: Festival d'Avignon
Description: 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).
Character List (Major): 2 female actors
1 male actor
1 child actor
(all are speaking roles)
Reviews: 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
Comments: Robert Wilson is credited with the work's basic conception and visual realization; some text by Robert Wilson.
Length: 04:30
Total Acts: 4
Chorus: SATB (16 voices)
Orchestration: amp S; fl (pic, bcl), fl (ssx), tsx (asx)/ 2syn
Musical Style: Minimalism; through-composed with various spoken texts; repeated syllables (solfège) and numbers; the piece centers on visual themes
Contact: Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc. or G. Schirmer, Inc.(agent)
Phone: 212-979-2080
Composer Web Site: http://www.philipglass.com/
Publisher Web Site: http://www.dunvagen.com
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2009 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase
Project Name: Einstein on the Beach
Awardee(s): Elise Sandell
Director: Elise Sandell
Designer: Liz Freese, Gordon W. Olson
Choreographer: 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 1, 2007 - State Opera of South Australia
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621
Info@operaamerica.org • Directions

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