The piece is non-narrative in form, and features a series of recurrent images shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences, constructed in the classical principle of theme and variation. The opera consists of four acts that are connected by a series of short scenes or "knee plays." The performance lasts nearly five hours and has no traditional intermissions; instead, the audience is invited to wander in and out at liberty.
Helga Davis and Kate Moran are the featured performers, with violinists Jennifer Koh and Antoine Silverman alternating as Einstein. Jasper Newell plays the Boy, and Charles Williams plays Mr. Johnson.
The production features the Lucinda Childs Dance Company: Ty Boomershine (Rehearsal Director), Katie Dorn, Katherine Fisher, Anne Lewis, Vincent McCloskey, Sharon Milanese, Patrick John O'Neill, Matthew Pardo, Lonnie Poupard Jr, Caitlin Scranton, Stuart N. Singer, Shakirah Stewart, Sarah Hillman and John Sorensen-Jolink.
The chorus includes sopranos Michèle A. Eaton, Lindsay Kesselman and Melanie Russell; mezzo-sopranos Hai-Ting Chinn, Kate Maroney and Solange Merdinian; tenors Philip Anderson, Tomás Cruz and John Kawa; baritone Gregory R. Purnhagen; and basses Joe Damon Chappel and Jason Charles Walker.
The Philip Glass Ensemble consists of Michael Riesman (Music Director, keyboards), Lisa Bielawa (soprano), David Crowell (alto saxophone, flute), Jon Gibson (soprano saxophone, flute), Mick Rossi (keyboards and Assistant Conductor) and Andrew Sterman (flute, piccolo, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone). (Riesman and Gibson have appeared in every performance of Einstein to date.)
In addition to Wilson (director and set & lighting designer), Glass (composer) and Childs (choreographer), the creative team includes Ann-Christin Rommen (co-director), Charles Otte (staging associate), Urs Schoenebaum (lights), Carlos Soto (costumes) and Campbell Young Associates: Luc Verschueren (hair and makeup).
The New York engagement of the tour will be presented at The Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the 2012 Next Wave Festival, September 14-23.