What a Legend Becomes

THE LAST FIVE FEW YEARS have seen a growing trend toward major revivals of classic experimental ’60s and ’70s performances for large, enthusiastic ’80s audiences who now seem “ready” for these works. By far the most talked about such event has been the recently remounted Einstein on the Beach, the operatic epic by director-designer Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass, a “revival” that included re-creation to such a degree that it raises important questions concerning the intrinsic qualities that previously separated the performance genre from theater and opera. The contrasts between the new production of Einstein and its original incarnation are many and illuminating.

When Einstein premiered in America at the Metropolitan Opera House with a mere two performances in 1976, it was not only the spectacular and unprecedented culmination of a year-long working process, but the successful

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