San Francisco Opera Debuts Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
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The last date listed for The Gospel of Mary Magdalene was Friday July 5, 2013 / 8:00pm.
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I'm an occasional opera patron and no scholar of the biblical stories. I will say that I enjoyed this opera experience even in the balcony. There was only one aria Mary sang that I might want to listen to over and over in my car though her voice was full and round and clear and beautiful. The libretto seemed a little dull and pedantic - nothing really touched me in a poetic way or soared emotionally that I noticed musically. But still I liked it. It was so personal. The acting by the leads, even with close ups on big screen, was so believable - kissing and all. It was sensual and resonant. Earlier during the week I had caught a snippet on NPR about the discovery that the scripture that says, "Be ye perfect" before it was translated was actually, "Be ye wholehearted" which meant acceptance and inclusion of humanity rather than selective of just the "good" parts. There is a healing energy when we can be with our more truthful presence. I felt this while "being with" the Mary and Jesus and Peter performances. Great acting, human, merely being, speaks volumes.
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This was an almost unbearably boring experience. While the singing was good (thin but good, except for one tenor who was great) the staging was nonexistent, one static set and nothing happening on it. In fact, that is the problem with the writing...continued
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I bought a Dress Circle fix. As the area was not full and the opera was FASCINATING, I enjoyed the 2nd act from a front row seat.
I loved the libretto, which the composer himself wrote and in poetry ! tho the opera was 3 hours long (1...continued
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” (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 that includes Sasha Cooke, William Burden and Maria Kanyova. Nathan Gunn, who possesses “a voice of stunning authority” (The _New York Times), sings the role of Yeshua. Michael Christie, in his San Francisco Opera debut, conducts.
“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.” —Mark Adamo, composer
Sung in English with English supertitles.
Approximate running time: 2 hours, 50 minutes including one intermission.
Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the main theater, in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain.
Post-performance discussions with Professor Kayleen Asbo are free to ticketholders and take place immediately following each performance. _
About the Ticket Supplier: San Francisco Opera
A leader among international opera companies for nine decades, San Francisco Opera was founded in 1923 by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953). Merola and his successor as general director, Kurt Herbert Adler, established a formidable institution heralded for its first-rate productions and roster of international opera stars. The landmark War Memorial Opera House has been the Company’s home since October 15, 1932.
After Adler’s tenure, the Company was led by Terence A. McEwen (1982–1988), Lotfi Mansouri (1988–2001), and Pamela Rosenberg (2001–2005). In January 2006 David Gockley became the Opera’s sixth general director after more than 30 years at the helm of Houston Grand Opera. That May, Gockley took opera to the center of the community with a free outdoor simulcast of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Subsequent simulcasts, including seven at AT&T Park, have collectively drawn nearly 200,000 opera fans. Created in 2007 the Koret-Taube Media Suite has enabled the Company to produce simulcasts and other projects including OperaVision (screens providing HD close-up shots for patrons in balcony seats), the Grand Opera Cinema Series in theaters and performing arts centers, an annual series of KQED telecasts, and releases of DVDs and Blu-Rays of recent performances. Regular San Francisco Opera radio broadcasts returned to national and international airwaves in 2007.
Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti, one of the opera world’s most exciting conductors, has been music director since the fall of 2009.