"The opera is a score in search of a story. Dantine has gone from narrator to bit player; the tension between him and Disney, Old World and New, has vanished without being replaced by another drama. The book’s most striking set pieces — Disney’s dialogue with an animatronic Abraham Lincoln; the unexpected arrival of a frightening girl in an owl mask — retain their mysterious power onstage but don’t connect to their surroundings."
Today is the 75th birthday of Philip Glass, a composer of such influence and renown that he has achieved the rare position in his field where popular culture feels free to joke about his repetitive style without fear of confusion. (When's the last time you heard someone make a John Adams crack?) He'll be on WNYC's Soundcheck later in the day previewing some of his 9th Symphony, which will be played at Carnegie Hall tonight. And here he is talking to Awl pal Seth Colter Walls. Below, a few favorites from a catalog full of them.
Composer and East Village legend Philip Glass has sold a memoir, to Norton's Liveright & Company. Word on the street has it that the text is extremely repetitive but amazingly modulated. (Alternate joke: his studio staff is just going to run around the office and pick up a bunch of scraps he's left behind and stitch them into a complete manuscript. (Well? God bless!)) No but seriously, love you, Mr. Glass!
Start saving your pennies (okay, dollars) now: "The Philip Glass opera 'Einstein on the Beach' will be revived in 2012, its producers said on Tuesday. The 1976 work will go on tour starting in Montpellier, France, in March of that year and travel to London, Toronto; Brooklyn and Berkeley, Calif., before closing in Amsterdam in January 2013. Mr. Glass and his collaborator, the director Robert Wilson, will be involved in the restaging, said the producers, Pomegranate Arts. "
"About 200 singers gathered to sing with the ebullient Kent Tritle, one of America's most accomplished and beloved choral conductors, and soprano soloist Rachel Rosales. (And a handful of singers were folks who had simply been walking by and were swept up in the moment.) On this sweltering day, the singers' mindful intention to gather in Times Square and its visceral result — all breath and sweat and palpable effort in the middle of glossy Times Square, with stifling heat, noise and a zillion blinking distractions — was just amazing and honestly quite moving."
The biggest opera house in the United States concluded its performance on time last night, at 11:15 p.m. Many of the nearly 4,000 people in attendance at the Met lingered in their seats for a bit, the better to praise the cast, orchestra and conductor—as well as to see if Philip Glass would take a curtain call. A number would have heard that the composer of Satyagraha, an opera about the life (sorta) and philosophical lineage (more consequentially) of Gandhi, was meant to have already spoken, at 10:30 p.m., to the Occupy Lincoln Center group just outside. When Glass did at last appear on stage, he was met with a [...]
What do we make of the young fellow spotted pushing a stroller on Bedford Avenue today? I ask because he was clad in t-shirt that had, in some real big letters, "Philip Glass Was A Plumber." Obviously it's reminiscent of "Jesus Was a Carpenter," but also, Philip Glass is and was a lot of things! TO THE T-SHIRT MAKING MACHINE!
• Philip Glass Was a 15-Year-Old College Attendee
• Philip Glass Was a 17-Year-Old Parisian Tourist
• Philip Glass Was Briefly a Crane Operator
• Philip Glass Went to Juilliard
• Philip Glass Was a Badass Motorcyclist
Philip Glass “may well be the Rossini of his century,” the critic, composer and scholar Kyle Gann wrote—back in a previous century. That analogy, he went on, was a useful way of thinking about the prolific minimalist, who “had an electric impact on the masses but only a portion of whose music seemed worthy of study by intellectuals.” This was the case, Gann added, despite the fact that “much of Glass’s best music has been underrated by disappointed former fans who have ceased to listen closely.”
Intellectuals that can’t bother to listen closely: so problematic! If any among their number wandered into the Park Avenue Armory last Saturday to [...]
"With Sanskrit, you are relieved of every bit of concentration except where it counts: on the music and the singing – and, if you're interested in the story, on the surtitles. Even librettos in English need surtitles, since distended vowels, vocal counterpoint and the over-trained diction of many performers make it difficult to understand. Every librettist should have a smattering of Sanskrit. It will save them, and their audiences, a huge amount of work." —Stephen Sondheim on Satyagraha.
We're a little late on this one, but the fact that it's gorgeous and the use of Philip Glass' "Opening" for the score makes it a pretty easy call: "Director Philip Andelman traveled to Basel, Switzerland, to document the designer's modern take of the classic hourglass inside the Glaskeller factory. Each hand made hourglass comprises highly durable borosilicate glass and millions of stainless steel nanoballs, and is available in a 10 or 60 minute timer." [Via]