Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

With 'Einstein on the Beach,' the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

By Matías Tarnopolsky

still of dancers

Cal Performances will present the opera "Einstein on the Beach" this weekend, Oct. 26-28. I had the privilege of seeing the work performed at the University Musical Society, in Ann Arbor, Mich., earlier this year, at which time I wrote the following:

still of dancers

There is an accumulation to the senses that we experience when we listen to a work of great depth, impact and length. In its 4 1/2 hours, "Einstein on the Beach" draws you deeper and deeper into its musical, choreographic, dramatic, theatrical and visual world. By the final chord you are left wondering where this journey is going to go next, and, like at the beginning when the doors open after the work has begun it feels like the work has not ended even after the rapturous applause of the audience concluded.

As the three creative giants acknowledged the applause at the end, I was left reflecting on the incredible contributions that Lucinda Childs, Philip Glass and Robert Wilson have made to the dance, music, and theater of our time. In recreating "Einstein on the Beach," almost 40 years after its premiere, we can appreciate not only their individual contributions to each of their fields, but also, how together, like with every great ensemble, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

All credit and congratulations to Executive Producer Linda Brumbach for bringing this restaging to life, to our fellow co-commissioners Ken Fisher and Michael Kondziolka at the University Musical Society at Ann Arbor for staging these previews and for hosting the rehearsal period in this remarkable environment.

This was an evening not to be forgotten. It seems almost too long to have to wait until October for the Berkeley performances, but, as I said before, I await with great excitement and anticipation our performances at Zellerbach Hall. They will be historic the first ever fully staged performances of "Einstein on the Beach" outside of New York.