It appears that leaving the rdio/mp3 cave and actually viewing, with my own eyes, a canonical music work leads to many ideas. Here's hints about what I'm mulling over about last night's Einstein on the Beach:
that strange scene where two guys were on metal beds, then their shadows were projected
Lucinda Childs is the best
Philip Glass continues his magnanimous behavior
no Robert Wilson on-stage
do the principals argue, decades later?
is Zellerbach Hall bad for electronic productions?
why is Einstein on the beach? (asked of me at the Bancroft Garage ticket payment machine)
the new (1984) recording
the atomic bomb slide
that kid on stage who rode off on his skateboard
the musicians in the background, after their foreground triumph at Music in Twelve Parts
what all instruments did Jon Gibson play, anyway?
when is the DVD?
as I walked out, people didn't know what to make of it, yet no one left early
was there lip-syncing or pre-recorded passages?
why did the doors open early but seating was only 20 minutes before curtain?
could there ever be an amateur production? (contact me for funding, if yes)
is "twitchy" a valid dance aesthetic?
would it have mattered if I saw it three times as planned rather than twice?
what will Hong Kong and Mexcio City think about Americans after seeing this?
LA performance, eventually?
how do I thank my spouse for letting me go to Berkeley while she helped my Mom tonight in her new residence?
did I actually fall asleep in the first half, given my level of exhaustion? If so, what did the people around me think?
would I really prefer all scenes be less than 15 minutes, as I thought during the first half?
did I turn off all sounds from my iphone and if not, was I prepared for the consequences? (there was one opera tattler-scale phone event)
why was SF Opera's Nixon in China more vivid (and more smoothly produced)? Is this a composer/generational thing?
were any of the keyboard parts improvised?
good or bad that the dancers wore boring costumes?
does Kalamazoo take offense? Good city, when I was visited in the Eighties.
how come I wasn't mesmerized like the Opera Tattler was, given I'm Glass-susceptible?
why did Waze route me over the Bay Bridge, given the traffic?
was this interesting, important, and maybe even fun?
I made it to the opera in Berkeley tonight. I was impressed how the composer sympathetically conveys the experience of the President as he majestically gets off a long plane ride from the US to China. Oh wait, that's the other canonical late 20th Century American opera.
Ok, back to Einstein on the Beach. I can't decide if it was crazy, crazy good, or the whole experience was just a dream. Probably all three. Seeing is believing, in this case.
While the opera conveys next to nothing about Albert Einstein, it's definitiely a consciousness revolution take on the first half of the 20th Century. With hindsight, 1900-1950 should be classified as crazy. So those 1930s-born creatives, Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, and Lucinda Childs, filtered that modern atomic era through a 60s/70s aesthetic. Call it a "double crazy."
I look forward to a future production, by younger artists, to see if the work can escape its creative context.
Doctor Atomic, by John Adams, in a way, covers the same subject, except that Adams is a baby boomer rather than from the Silent Generation (e.g. Colin Powell, Walter Mondale, Woody Allen, Martin Luther King, Jr., ElizabethTaylor, Elvis Presley as well as Glass/Wilson/Childs). That Adams opera probably won't be a canonic work, despite some early enthusiasm on my part.
Einstein's 4.5 hours was long but it was like a plane ride in that after a couple hours, the momentum started to accumulate and before I knew it, we were on our final, crazy, descent. Similarly, I didn't feel like climbing over my seat mates given the opera had no formal intermission (for a 4.5 hour production!).
Although I closely follow the San Francisco Giants, I was a boyhood fan of the Detroit Tigers and I may ultimately regret saying this, but I hope the Tigers win on Sunday. The spouse and I are going to the matinee of Einstein on the Beach tomorrow afternoon so a loss would let me watch what could be the final game on Monday.
Go Giants (sooner or later) and go Philip Glass...
What else is new? Although this version is not on the new Philip Glass Rework album, Tim Hecker has remixed the recording from Analog in his interesting style i.e. it errs on the side of obliteration rather than variation (MP3 download here).
What does Pitchfork say about remixing Glass' music? "As a result, a lot of what's here doesn't really demonstrate what they can do to Philip Glass, but what Philip Glass has already done to them."