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Einstein on the Beach – A Review

Einstein on the Beach is a very long production of five hours, and even with its long length, you get the feeling that it is an opera that doesn’t really want to ever reach a conclusion What is quite noticeable about the production is that it doesn’t have an interval and the five hours run continuously, which can be quite demanding on the audience.

This production is the result of a collaboration that took place between the composer, Philip Glass, and Robert Wilson, a conceptualist designer, both of who were working in the 1970s. Many people regard this production is one of the highlights of the cultural Olympiad that is occurring because of the Olympic Games.

The title of this opera is somewhat misleading as the production has nothing to do with the beach, or indeed theoretical physics. There is not a great deal of narrative in the production and it doesn’t go very much into detail about science.

The production is very unusual and most of the scenes are set in a courtroom, but there is no one who seems to be on trial in the story. There is a child who throws paper darts from near the top of the quartering, and also a woman who waves a gun at the audience. None of these ideas seem to come together very coherently, but this is part of the charm of the opera. No one really has any idea what’s going on, but that doesn’t really seem to matter.

Lucinda Childs has done the staging for the production as well as the choreography and for those who know the style of Robert Wilson, it will seem very familiar. She creates a production that is very true to the original when it comes to dancing and this is something that audience members will welcome.


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