In November of 1976, composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson presented Einstein on the Beach at the venerable Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Their brave new opera held most of the audience entranced for more than five hours while the rest ran for the exits. Glass didn't exactly become a celebrity overnight -- the day after the performance, he went back to his job driving a taxi -- but Einstein got people talking about Glass's high voltage, highly repetitive, hypnotic music. Experiencing Einstein in an opera house is an extraordinary experience; the music perfectly complements Wilson's stylishly stylized stage direction. Even on a recording, minus its visual component, the pulsating energy of electric keyboards and amplified wind instruments joined to the enigmatic eloquence of the text (partly sung, partly spoken) makes Einstein exhilarating. While the premiere recording -- still available on Sony -- is raw and powerful, some of the repetitions had to be cut, as the original release was designed for LPs. Nonesuch's superb 1993 recording, however, offers the complete score in a more polished performance.