Performance Friday, March 31, 2017 | 7:30 PM

St. Louis Symphony

John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
John Adams’s critically acclaimed and mesmerizing new take on the Passion story, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, tells the story of Christ’s last days from the perspective of three people closely attached to him: Mary Magdalene, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Adams’s score is dazzlingly eclectic, with vocal writing that runs a gamut of styles from laments and dramatic choruses to a trio of countertenors recounting the biblical tale. The drama is colored by unusual instruments, including the exotic cimbalom, electric bass guitar, and an array of percussion. All of these elements come together in a work of tremendous power and otherworldly beauty.


  • St. Louis Symphony
    David Robertson, Music Director and Conductor
  • Kelley O'Connor, Mezzo-Soprano (Magdalene)
  • Michaela Martens, Mezzo-Soprano (Martha)
  • Jay Hunter Morris, Tenor (Lazarus)
  • Daniel Bubeck, Countertenor
  • Brian Cummings, Countertenor
  • Nathan Medley, Countertenor
  • St. Louis Symphony Chorus
    Amy Kaiser, Director


  • JOHN ADAMS The Gospel According to the Other Mary

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.


Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 PM in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with composer John Adams and St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.


JOHN ADAMS The Gospel According to the Other Mary (“The Next Day in the City Jail”)
Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor | Los Angeles Philharmonic | Los Angeles Master Chorale

At a Glance

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, John Adams is the most prominent, most lauded, and in many estimations most accomplished American composer of our time. Adams’s stature rests mainly on his large-scale compositions, including three major operas (a fourth debuts later this year); a series of extended orchestral pieces, some of them including solo instruments; and a pair of oratorios. The latter works are notable for extending into our post-modern era two venerable forms of sacred music, the Nativity oratorio and the Passion oratorio. With El Niño, completed in 2000, Adams updated the former genre with music in his distinctive style and with a text that combined Gospel passages with writings by Latin American authors and the visionary 12th-century poet and composer Hildegard von Bingen.

A dozen years later, Adams brought forth a Passion oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary. This work also expands upon the millennia-old Gospel narratives with latter-day texts by diverse authors. More crucially, it reimagines the story of Jesus’s death and Resurrection from a modern perspective and, strikingly, from the perspective of women. Moreover, notions of social justice and worldly ministry form an important part of The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Although Adams and his librettist, Peter Sellars, could hardly have foreseen it when they created the work, these ideas lend The Gospel According to the Other Mary keen relevance to this moment in American history. Still, the oratorio is neither a political nor a sociological document. Rather, it presents an exploration of spirituality, of death and rebirth, of faith and prayer as activities with miraculous powers.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Great American Orchestras.