San Francisco Opera broadcasts continue on Classical 90.5 at noon this Saturday, October 19th, with a performance of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene with music and libretto by Mark Adamo. The performance will be sung in English and will run approximately three hours.
She has long been condemned as a harlot, or dismissed as a minor player in a well-known sacred narrative, but ancient manuscripts discovered in recent decades tell a very different story, giving us a striking new viewpoint on Jesus' message to humanity. Mary Magdalene is placed at the center of the story in this world premiere by Mark Adamo, a "brilliant theater composer" (The New Yorker) whose Little Women is the most frequently performed new opera of the past 20 years. Kevin Newbury, lauded for his "imagination and emotional nuance" (The New York Times), directs a resplendent cast. Michael Christie, in his San Francisco Opera debut, conducts.
Mark Adamo said the following about the inspiration behind The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
"No Gospel was written as history. But every gospel—not only those included in the New Testament—contains fragments of the history of Jesus of Nazareth and of those who followed him. In 2007 I wondered: could you develop from those fragments a credibly human original version of the story that we know only through its later, magical embellishments? In such a new New Testament, might its women characters speak as eloquently as its men? (The Gnostic Gospels suggest as much.) And might such a story gain, rather than lose, nobility, breadth, passion, nerve, if—instead of the usual saints, angels, and sinners—it centered on human beings making momentous decisions guided only by painful experience, moral intuition, and the light they have to see by? The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is my answer."