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‘Einstein on the Beach’: Much more than sum of its parts

Einstein_13_Credit_LucieJansch
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Like the birth of a child, Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach: An Opera in Four Acts, co-written with Philip Glass, featuring choreography by Lucinda Childs and brought to Berkeley at October’s end by Cal Performances, presented a conundrum of experience.

The nearly five-hour opera can drive a person mad, or into ecstasy, or both. The only certainty is that after witnessing it, sight, sound, movement, and especially time, can never be the same.

The 1976 original, hailed by critics as revolutionary and largely credited with establishing Wilson, Glass and Childs as leaders in (respectively) contemporary theater, music and dance, today bears some resemblance to an old home movie made by an eccentric uncle. But, while madness in the hands of a family relative may result in silly entertainment, in the hands of three masters, it makes for brilliant, universe-shifting theater. … Continue reading »

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