Einstein on the Beach

first opera in the Portrait Trilogy by Philip Glass

Einstein on the Beach is an opera written by the minimalist composer Philip Glass and theater director and designer Robert Wilson. It was first acted for an audience in Avignon, France in 1976.

It is a single act opera, about five hours long with no intermission. Because of the length and the minimalist (repetitive) nature of the music, audience members are free to enter and leave the opera as they wish. Glass's music tends to cycle round, but does not exactly repeat itself. Admittedly, he has described himself as a composer of "music with repetitive structures".[1] Though his earlier music fits what is normally called "minimalist", he has since evolved stylistically.[2][3]


  1. "Biography", PhilipGlass.com, archived from the original on August 4, 2013, retrieved November 10, 2008
  2. Smith, Ethan, "Is Glass half empty?", New York Magazine, retrieved November 10, 2008
  3. Smith, Steve (September 23, 2007), "If Grant had been singing at Appomattox", The New York Times