MTH-V: ‘Einstein’ Unplugged

Okay, okay. This will be my last Einstein on the Beach-centric post for a while. Promise. (At least I’ll try…) But I must share this.

While assembling links, etc., for the last MTH-V post on Einstein, I came across the below series of videos and giddily watched them all. Along with the 2012 Brooklyn run of EOTB last fall, part of the company (chorus, lead actors, violinist/Einstein Jennifer Koh, and keyboardist/director Michael Riesman) gave an “unplugged” performance of much of the opera: the five Knee Plays and the second “Trial” scene. The pieces are abbreviated, the instrumentation is much lighter (for most of them), and it lacks the staging and bizarre atmospherics of the full production. However I find these performance intriguing nonetheless. Granted, the audience members all likely knew what they were in for, but it’s nonetheless an interesting way to introduce the material to newcomers. Also, it begs the question that for an opera without a plot, how much difference does it make to hear certain selections out of context?

I’m glad there’s quality video footage of Kate Moran’s nuanced rendition of “Trial/Prison.” This was something that really stood out when I saw it last year. Ditto for Charles Williams‘s closing monologue in Knee Play 5. (I was completely out of my body at this point when I saw it in person.)

(Other EOTB posts here, herehere, and here..)

And now for the oratorio-like rendition (posted in order in full)…

Knee Play 1

Knee Play 2

Knee Play 3

Act III, Scene 1: Trial/Prison

Knee Play 4

Knee Play 5

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