Monday, October 29, 2012


The west coast premier of the opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass opens with this photograph.  You can see some water in the background.  Otherwise the relationship to Einstein is rather tenuous.  Three dot journalism:

Converse Allstars...Conch shell and woman who holds it up to her ear...British jurists...Woman reading the New york Times...Paper airplanes...Ding dong...

There is a violinist in Converse Allstars that we decided must be Albert himself who is known to have played the violin..."Court is now in session"...One judge pours a beaker of glitter...Woman who walked for half an hour at the beginning is the defendant.  Styrofoam cups, illegal in Berkeley, appear.

They discuss:  Mister Bojangles...This is about the things on the table...John Lennon...Baggy pants...Gun gun gun....

A girl scratches her butt.  I can't help thinking of Gertrude Stein.

For over two hours we hear typical noodling music such as only Philip Glass can manage.  It is apparently enraging because about three hours in, after a woman on the stage waved a machine gun at us and made noises like shooting, everyone became nasty and started complaining to everyone else.

You remember when I posted this a few days ago:

Share Your Thoughts
Connect with others attending the performance and let the world know your thoughts about Einstein on the Beach either by tweeting @CalPerformances or using the hashtag #einstein2012.

I tried to post things, but people around me were too annoyed.

Mist floating down into pit...Big chorus...Could all be a loop but isn't...Conch shell girl is back. Holds to ear. We don't hear ocean...Chorus chants "Onedy onedy onedy..." Back in court. Defendant is wearing a dress. Men in striped suits. Bars..."I have been avoiding the beach." Scream!  "Prematurely airconditioned", my favorite line of the play...Suddenly she is in a gray pantsuit with a large lollipop....

After noodling for at least 3 hours, there is a completely unexpected saxophone riff that went on for about a half hour while people stood around a building and waved.  There is talking, singing, chorus, two synthesizers, two saxophones and a piccolo, but absolutely no operatic singing.

I went out and had a beer and watched the rest on the monitor by the bar.

Jennifer Koh was Einstein playing the violin.
Kate Moran spoke "Prematurely air-conditioned."
Helga Davis spoke "Mr. Bojangles."
Andrew Sternman played the tenor saxophone solo.



Dr.B said...

I wrote Alfred for some reason. There was a musicologist called Alfred Einstein. Whether he also played the violin or was related to Albert, I don't know. I often mix them up.

Unknown said...

It always amazed me, when a person talented in something, like Einstein was in physics is also very good in something else, playing violin in this case... It's very inspiring, like some really great piece of music. For me this piece is Gabriel Fauré’s “Après un reve” form found by me at Maxim Rysanov's new disc called "Pavane".

Dr.B said...

Carol King and The Beatles are immortalized in this work. I feel the earth move....