Widely recognised as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, Einstein On The Beach will return to Australia for an exclusive season at Arts Centre Melbourne from Wednesday July 31 – Sunday 4 August, 2013 as part of a major world tour, bringing this ground-breaking work to a new generation.
Rarely performed due to its epic scale, Einstein On The Beach, An Opera in Four Acts launched its director Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass to international success when it was first produced in Avignon in 1976 with subsequent performances in Europe and New York.
Now nearly four decades since it was first performed and 21 years since its last production – seen exclusively in Australia at the 1992 Melbourne festival – a remarkable revival by Wilson, Glass, and choreographer Lucinda Childs has critics and audiences in raptures all over again.
"We are immensely proud to be one of the international cities presenting this remarkable work," said Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood. "Einstein on the Beach was revolutionary when first performed and it is now considered one of the most remarkable performance works of our time.
"This is a rare opportunity to experience this unique work staged by these three iconic artists. Watching Einstein is like watching a mini-series in one sitting – you just sit back, let it wash over you and immerse yourself in the incredible world unfolding in front of your eyes. It is one of those experiences that will stay with you forever – an experience of a lifetime," said Ms Isherwood.
Einstein On The Beach is a modern classic that encompasses dance, visual arts, opera, theatre and music, transforming its audience and leaving a lasting emotional impact. Comprising a touring company of 62 members, Einstein On The Beach runs for four-and-a-half hours without interval. The audience is able to leave and re-enter the auditorium as they wish.
With no story, hero, or heroine, Einstein on the Beach unfolds as a hypnotic tableau, inspired by the poetic idea of a genius and propelled by Glass's sublime score. A cosmic chorus of syllables, numbers, streams of consciousness, and enigmatic poems – punctuated by Lucinda Childs' choreography – unfurls beneath Wilson's spectacular set and precision lighting design, enlivening this epic, seminal masterwork of 20th century performance.
Einstein on the Beach was the first collaboration between Robert Wilson and Philip Glass. The work breaks all of the rules of conventional opera, including the relationship among the creators. Wilson devised the visual book – the structure and designs – at the same time Glass composed the music. Non-narrative in form, the work uses a series of powerful recurrent images as its main dramatic device shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences choreographed by Lucinda Childs.
The 2012 production of Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts was commissioned by: BAM; the Barbican, London; Cal Performances University of California, Berkeley; Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; De Nederlandse Opera/ The Amsterdam Music Theatre; Opera et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc.Rousillon; University Musical Society of the University of Michigan.
Produced by Pomegranate Arts.