One of the most powerful concert experiences of recent seasons is about to become one of the most significant releases of the new year: Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Master Chorale, along with an outstanding cast featuring Kelley O’Connor, Tamara Mumford and Russell Thomas, in Deutsche Grammophon’s world-premiere recording of composer John Adams’ internationally acclaimed The Gospel According to the Other Mary.
Based on a libretto compiled by Adams’ frequent collaborator, iconoclast stage director Peter Sellars, The Gospel According to the Other Mary is conceived as an epic, timely reimagining of the great oratorios of Bach. In recounting Christ’s Last Supper and crucifixion, Sellars has selected texts by Dorothy Day, Louise Erdrich, Primo Levi, Rosario Castellanos, June Jordan, Hildegard von Bingen and Rubén Darío in addition to Old and New Testament sources focusing on oft-neglected voices in the Passion, including those of Martha (sister of Lazarus) and Mary Magdalene. The resulting tableaux, highlighting the sorrow and courage of these women, set Biblical characters and events in a deeply moving, contemporary light.
As Dudamel remarks: “John Adams, like Stravinsky and Debussy a century ago, immerses himself in the creative process by engaging not just with musicians, but with painters, writers, directors and thinkers of different cultures and backgrounds. It was so rewarding collaborating with John, especially in the artistic rapport he shares with Peter Sellars, in realizing this huge, beautiful, socially relevant piece. It is both a contemporary reinterpretation of the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and a reaction to the suffering of people around the world.”
Subsequent to the original concert performances in Los Angeles in May 2012, Adams made a number of revisions to the score and Sellars staged The Gospel for an international tour in March 2013 that took the production from LA to London, Lucerne, Paris and New York. This recording represents their conclusive vision of this important musical landmark.