Philip Glass’ masterpiece ‘Einstein on the Beach’ heads to the Barbican

Philip Glass has created an extensive number of stage works and the majority of them so far have come to the UK at some point. However, one of his most famous pieces, Einstein on the Beach, which was devised in the mid-1970s, has never been to the UK.

This production began as a trilogy of operas created by Mr Glass and each of the operas is focused on a different important historical figure. One of these figures is Einstein and the opera that features him is much more abstract than the other two operas which focus on Satyagraha and Akhnaten.

This production is going to be put on at the Barbican and those who attend are not going to learn a great deal about science, but they are going to be given an insight into the man himself. As far as the science goes, all the audience are told is that nuclear explosions are powerful, on this front it is quite disappointing.

When the opera was first performed back in the 1970s, it was quite unlike anything else. Abstract opera was not something that had really been embraced and this was the first production of this kind that really entered the mainstream. The production was created in collaboration with Robert Wilson.

When it was first created a great deal of the visual effects that were seen in the opera, today however these are far less impressive and computers have meant that many of the effects which were impressive at the time, no longer wow the audience.

Unfortunately however, on the opening night of this production at the Barbican, there was a technical problem and the performance actually started half an hour late because of it. There was an additional problem during the first act, which meant that an interval had to be put in as one of the stage pieces refuse to move around as it should have done. Despite all of the problems this is a fascinating vocal production and the actors really do a faultless job of it. Overall an exceptional piece of opera that is worth seeing.