Release Date:

Oct 2016

Sound Format:

LPCM & DTS Master Audio 5.1

Catalog Number:


Glass: Einstein on the Beach (Théâtre du Châtelet)

Michael Riesman (Conductor); Robert Wilson (Director); Lucinda Childs (Choreography);

This seminal work of avant-garde opera from composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson arrives full-circle, coming to France, the site of its 1976 Avignon Festival world premiere, at the tail end of this 2014 revival tour for a landmark Theâtre du Châtelet production and a first ever filming by award-winning arts filmmaker Don Kent. Eschewing conventional narrative, the opera revolves loosely around pacifist Einstein’s relationship to the creation of the atomic bomb. In continuity with the opera’s debut, for this new production, hailed by Le Figaro as ‘meticulously crafted total artwork in which the visual and musical craft are inseparable’, the music is again performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble and the choreography devised by original cast member Lucinda Childs for her Lucinda Childs Dance Company, with the scenes taking place under Bob Wilson’s own digitally remastered light design.

This very special release is packaged in a luxurious 56 page hardcover book.

'I don’t care about music theory, I’m only interested in listening to music. I begin by listening. Like images emerging from the mist and becoming visible.' - Philip Glass


"At the Théâtre du Châtelet, the opera first performed in 1976 by Bob Wilson and Philip Glass causes the same emotion as when it was first created. A true work of art of about four and a half hours where the visual is inseparable from the musical score. There are several ways to approach the revival thirty-seven years later: One can be nostalgic about what was progressive in one's youth and since became a classic; with the jaded look of the 2014 listener who heard dozens of works by Glass and Wilson since and seen so many shows and whom nothing can surprise. Or one can disregard all memory layers and open one's eyes filled with wonder as if it were the first time: Which is what happened! ... And most striking is that, compared to many pioneers of the past who now seem quite insipid as times went on, their creation has kept its surprises" (Le Figaro)

"Love it or hate it, Philip Glass's 'Einstein on the Beach' stands like a monumental signpost of the 1970s, pointing towards one kind of opera of the future. Its static tableaux, five hours with no story, are as much art installation as music theatre, and need to be seen rather than heard. This DVD of Pomegranate Art's revival was filmed in Paris in 2014 on its international tour. Director and co-creator Robert Wilson's hypnotic stage pictures are captured in all their remarkable detail. Everything he has done since is but a pale copy of this. The presentation is lavish." (The Financial Times ★★★★)

"Still fresh and fashionably futuristic, it parades with conviction the minimalist techniques that Glass had arrived at in 1975 through his involvement with the avant-garde downtown scene in Manhattan. As such, this immaculately realised revival, filmed in Paris in 2014 and lavishly packaged, is a living monument to a work that marked the arrival on the world stage of a soon-to-be stratospherically successful composer. " (BBC Music Magazine ★★★★)

"Brilliantly shot with excellent sound quality, judging from photographs of the original 1976 production it's also an accurate representation of how Glass and Wilson originally envisaged it. With excellent performances by a highly versatile 12-part chorus, a well-oiled Philip Glass Ensemble directed by Michael Riesman (which includes a dazzling bebpo-style saxophone solo by Andrew Sterman in Act 4 scene 1), and violinist Antoine Silverman as the inscrutable Einstein, this is as close to a definitive version of the opera as you're likely to get." (Gramophone)