Need an opera fix between productions at Houston Grand Opera and Opera in the Heights? Do you have five hours and a good internet connection? Generously, Théâtre du Châtelet’s production of Philip Glass’, Robert Wilson’s, and Lucinda Childs’ Einstein on the Beach is free to stream online.
I first experienced Einstein in Mexico City at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (the origin of the banner above) in 2012. Watching a video is, of course, not the same as actually being enveloped by this opera, but it is a rare treat to see in any form. Through blazing beams of light and shocks of red, grand trains and mystical spaceships, singers and dancers in crisp white shirts and suspenders deliver repetitive melodic cycles of movement and libretto for about five uninterrupted hours. Entering this opera means entering another time dimension entirely. Labeled as non-narrative, musicologists tend to think of Einstein as the peak of modernism for Glass; even without a defined plot, it captivates unlike anything else out there.
Most of Houston is already shut inside under a pile of blankets watching bad television and waiting out this cold snap. What’s an afternoon spent enjoying a magnum opus of twentieth-century opera that radically redefined the genre altogether?
Grab a sandwich and settle in: click here for Einstein.