Monday, 25 July 2016

Einstein on the Beach

Listening to Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach to mark the 40th anniversary of the opera’s premiere which took place on July 25, 1976 at the Avignon Festival in France. I’m disappointed the four and a half hour performance filmed in 2012 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris has yet to find its way to Blu-Ray. This record of the opera, the only time it’s been filmed, was available to view online at one point but has since been taken down. (There’s a 4.77 GiB pirate copy doing the rounds but it’s a little too much data for my limited set-up). Brilliant as Glass’ music is, Einstein on the Beach would be best appreciated accompanied by Robert Wilson’s visuals - I’m currently on the second disc of the 3CD Nonesuch edition (the pic below of the 1978 4LP Tomato edition is window dressing only), and it is admittedly a demanding work. In the absence of the Theatre du Chatelet film, the 1985 documentary Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Face of Opera is still the best place to get an idea of Wilson’s large Metropolis-like sets and innovative lighting. This excellent hour-long film can be viewed here:

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