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Modern magus

Is director Robert Wilson still a visionary? asks James Woodall

By James Woodall   May 2012

Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo, Milan, 2009: theatres in continental Europe pay extravagant sums to stage Robert Wilson’s ambitious productions

Robert Wilson, whose 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach arrives at the Barbican this May (music by Philip Glass), is a model of the modern magus: a genuine native North-American artist. That is to refer less to Wilson’s ethnicity—he is a white Texan—than his status; he is a man who, like choreographer Merce Cunningham, painter Barnett Newman and composer John Adams, to name but three of a dozen or so like them, simply could not be anything else but American. In this…

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