Fall Arts Guide 2012: Einstein Heads Back to the Beach

BAM hosts the return of a now classic avant-garde opera

If the best directors are not all that far from cultists—needing to be magnetic enough to inspire some devotional buy-in—then Wilson has done his ritualistic part once again in 2012. Moran, Davis, and Koh share an evident hunger to do right by the piece and its new audience. (And on the music side, Philip Glass Ensemble musical director Michael Reisman says that this year of Glass performances has the group sounding better in this music than they've ever sounded before.)

According to Davis, so far on their 2012 tour, a similar desire to absorb the full Einstein education has been displayed by audiences, too. "This idea of going out [of the theater] and coming back in is completely lost on this generation," she says of the come-and-go freedom made explicit before the five-hour performance begins. "Everybody wants to see every moment of it."

Nor does the endurance test leave a performer unchanged. "When you do something that lasts for almost five hours, to go back into a piece that's an hour or an hour and 15, I kind of giggle," Davis says. "Like: 'Ah, y'all are a bunch of pussies! I've been sitting here for five hours. What? An hour? An hour and 15 minutes? What the fuck!'" she says with some laughter.

Relativity plus sand
Lucie Jansch
Relativity plus sand


The Village Voice's Fall Arts Guide:
Einstein Heads Back to the Beach
BAM hosts the Return of a now classic avant-garde opera.
By Seth Colter Walls

Let's Irk the Rabbis
Writer Nathan Englander relieves some theater urges.
By Alexis Siloski

Forget Olivier
Andrea Arnold adapts Wuthering Heights.
By Aaron Hillis

Red-Sauce Diaries
For fall, try some classic Italian joints.
By Robert Sietsema

Fall Picks: Art
By Christian Viveros-Fauné

Fall Picks: Books
By James Hannaham

Fall Picks: Dance
By Deborah Jowitt

Fall Picks: Film
By Aaron Hillis

Fall Picks: Music
By Seth Colter Walls

More seriously, though, Davis notes how the experience of Einstein on the Beach has changed the way she lives through the time span of more traditional works—and adds that it has changed her day-to-day approach to life. On many available accounts, it sounds as though the greatest teaching Einstein can do involves sitting and watching for its whole duration, rather than just listening to a CD. And for the first time in a long time in New York, there are some open seats available for the class. September 14–23, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org

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