Einstein on the Beach was the first collaboration between Glass and Wilson. For the new production, they are working with a number of their longtime collaborators, including Lucinda Childs, who will serve as choreographer, as she did in 1984 and 1992. Cast and additional creative team members will be announced at a later date.
The piece utilizes synthesizers, woodwinds and voices of the Philip Glass Ensemble. Non-narrative in form, it 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.
The tour will launch at the Opera Berlioz Le Corum on March 17 and 18, 2012, presented by Opéra et Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon. As previously reported, the work will receive its first-ever UK performances in conjunction with the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival.
Additional stops will include the June 2012 Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity; The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 2012 Next Wave Festival; Cal Performances on the University of California, Berkeley campus; and the tour's concluding stop at Amsterdam's De Nederlandse Opera/The Amsterdam Music Theatre in January 2013.
Before the tour, in January 2012, the entire Einstein on the Beach company will be in residence at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, whose University Musical Society will host technical rehearsals and early previews.