Einstein on the Beach: Q&A with Lindsay Kesselman
By Lindsay KesselmanTweet
Widely credited as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, Einstein on the Beach is a rarely performed and revolutionary work that launched director Robert Wilson and composer Philip Glass to international success when it was first produced in Avignon, France in 1976, with subsequent performances in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera. It is still recognized as one of their greatest masterpieces. Now, nearly four decades after it was first performed and 20 years since its last production, Einstein on the Beach will be reconstructed for a major international tour, including the first North American presentations ever held outside of New York City.
Prior to the production’s final technical rehearsals and world première in Montpelier, France, UMS will host the production’s creators, musicians, performers, and crew for three weeks as they reconstruct and rehearse the work for what is likely to be the final world tour designed and led by its original creative team. A rare chance to see a work of this scale in progress, these preview performances will be the only opportunity to see Einstein on the Beach in the Midwest.
Lindsay Kesselman will sing with the Phillip Glass Ensemble for the duration of the opera’s 2012-2013 international tour. She’ll also be guest blogging on umsLOBBY.
UMS: As an emerging artist, how do you approach a seminal work like Einstein on the Beach?
Lindsay Kesselman: With great humility….and tons of excitement! I remember hearing about Einstein on the Beach for the first time as a freshman in my undergraduate music history class. Even then, I remember thinking that this was my kind of opera, and exactly the sort of piece I hoped to sing one day. Now, being given the chance to participate in a re-creation of this incredible work, and in a production of this size and scope, is nothing short of thrilling.
UMS: You studied at voice at Michigan State University and have Michigan roots. Does beginning with this production in Michigan hold any special importance for you?
LK: Definitely. I received a B.M. in voice and music education from Michigan State University in 2006 and, after spending a few years away, returned to live in Ann Arbor 2 years ago. I regularly attend UMS events, and feel so fortunate that we will have the opportunity to workshop the piece and give preview performances here at the Power Center. This is a wonderfully vibrant community, filled with people who are curious and interested in a diverse array of arts, and I am so excited that they will have the chance to see this production first. For me personally, it will be wonderful to share this experience with my local family and friends, and it will be a luxury to be home during the month of January!
UMS: What are you most looking forward to during this production? What do you hope to learn from your work on this production?
LK: There are so many things to which I am looking forward…the chance to learn from the extraordinary visionaries and creators of this piece, Philip Glass, Robert Wilson and Lucinda Childs, will be a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. Learning from and growing with the remarkable members of the Philip Glass Ensemble, my fellow singers, and the entire cast and crew, will be life-changing. And certainly, having the chance to introduce this piece to a new generation of audiences across the world will be humbling and truly unforgettable.
Have a question for Lindsay, or curious about something to do with Einstein on the Beach? Use the hashtag #askeinstein on Twitter or comment below.