CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

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.

Performers

  • 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

Program

  • 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.

Bios

  • St. Louis Symphony


    Celebrated as one of the today's most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the United States and is widely considered one of the world's finest. In September 2005, American conductor David Robertson became the 12th music director in the orchestra's history and has since solidified the St. Louis Symphony's standing as one of the nation's most vital and innovative ensembles. In its 137th season, the orchestra is committed to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connection--all in service to its mission of enriching people's lives through the power of music. In addition to its regular concert performances at home in Powell Hall, the orchestra is an integral part of the diverse and vibrant St. Louis community, presenting hundreds of free education programs and performances throughout the region each year. The Grammy Award-winning St. Louis Symphony's impact beyond its home market is realized through weekly Saturday night concert broadcasts, celebrated recordings, and regular touring activity.

    The St. Louis Symphony performed numerous works by composer John Adams throughout its 2016-2017 concert season, including his Violin Concerto, featuring soloist Leila Josefowicz, in the fall of 2016. The concerto was recorded by Nonesuch Records for a future release. The orchestra also recorded Adams's violin symphony, Scheherazade.2, which was recorded with Ms. Josefowicz at Powell Hall in February 2016. It was released in September 2016 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

    In 2015, the orchestra received a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for Adams's City Noir and Saxophone Concerto, with Mr. Robertson conducting and featuring soloist Timothy McAllister, also recorded on Nonesuch. This was the orchestra's sixth Grammy and 57th nomination. The St. Louis Symphony also recorded Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places for Nonesuch.  That album, released in 2009, was named Classical Album of the Decade by The Times of London.

    In the 2015-2016 season, the St. Louis Symphony completed a highly successful California tour, which included stops in Berkeley and at Los Angeles's Walt Disney Concert Hall. With Mr. Robertson conducting, the tour featured performances of Messiaen's Des canyons aux étoiles …, which included video images of the American Southwest landscapes that inspired the composer, created by artist Deborah O'Grady especially for the orchestra.


    David Robertson


    David Robertson is one of today's most sought-after conductors. Celebrated worldwide as a champion of contemporary composers, an ingenious programmer, and a masterful communicator, Mr. Robertson is a consummate and deeply collaborative musician. With an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire that spans the classical to the avant-garde, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras and opera companies around the world. This marks Mr. Robertson's 12th season as music director of the storied 137-year-old St. Louis Symphony. He also serves as chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

    As music director of the St. Louis Symphony, Mr. Robertson has solidified the orchestra's standing as one of the nation's most enduring and innovative. Under his leadership, the St. Louis Symphony's notable relationship with composer John Adams produced the 2014 release of City Noir on Nonesuch Records, which won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance, and the 2016 release of Adams's violin symphony, Scheherazade.2, performed by Leila Josefowicz; 2017 will see the release of Adams's Violin Concerto, also with Ms. Josefowicz.

    A highlight of Mr. Robertson's 2016-2017 guest-conducting engagements includes the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Janáček's Jenůfa. He has held other titled posts with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and Ensemble Intercontemporain.

    Mr. Robertson received Columbia University's 2006 Ditson Conductor's Award, and he and the St. Louis Symphony are recipients of several major awards from ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras. Musical America named him the 2000 Conductor of the Year. In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2011 a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

    Born in Santa Monica, California, Mr. Robertson was educated at London's Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He is married to pianist Orli Shaham.

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  • Kelley O'Connor


    Kelley O'Connor's engagements during the 2016-2017 season include her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in a program of Brahms, Purcell, and Stravinsky in collaboration with Thomas Adès; John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the San Francisco Symphony; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra; and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Detroit and Atlanta symphony orchestras. With Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Ms. O'Connor sings in Mahler's Third Symphony, and she sings the role of Erda in concert performances of Wagner's Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert.

    John Adams wrote the title role of The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Ms. O'Connor, and she has performed the work internationally and recorded it with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon. She also created the role of Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov's opera Ainadamar, and continues to be the eminent living interpreter of Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs, which she recorded with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

    Highlights of recent seasons have included performances of John Adams's El Niño with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski, Ravel's Shéhérazade with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Edinburgh Festival, Mahler's Eighth Symphony with Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Berio's Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra, Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Stravinsky's Les Noces with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony. 

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  • Michaela Martens


    In the 2016-2017 season, Michaela Martens sings the role of Freia in Wagner's Das Rheingold with North Carolina Opera and the role of Herodias in Strauss's Salome with Pittsburgh Opera, debuts with Washington Concert Opera in the title role of Massenet's Hérodiade, and sings Ortrud in Wagner's Lohengrin with Opernhaus Zürich. Last season, she performed the role of Judith in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle in concert with the New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, Cassandre in Berlioz's Les Troyens with Geneva Opera in Switzerland, and Kostelnička in Janáček's Jenufa with English National Opera.

    In the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Martens returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Marilyn Klinghoffer in John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, Judith in Bluebeard's Castle, and Gertrud in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel--a role she reprised later that season in her debut with Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper. With the Santa Fe Opera she performed Herodias in Salome, and with San Francisco Opera she sang the role of Cassandre in Les Troyens. Ms. Martens opened the 2013-2014 season with her return to Graz Opera, singing Ortrud in Lohengrin, a role she later reprised at the Vienna State Opera. Ms. Martens also made a return to Opernhaus Zürich as Kostelnička in Jenufa.

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  • Jay Hunter Morris


    Jay Hunter Morris began the 2016-2017 season in revival performances as Captain Ahab in Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick at Dallas Opera and as Lazarus in John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the San Francisco Symphony. Returning to the Metropolitan Opera, he appears as Erik in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer and travels to China to appear as Tristan in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach.

    Recent highlights include Mr. Morris's appearance at Los Angeles Opera as Ahab in Moby-Dick, which he also performed at San Francisco Opera, State Opera of South Australia (for the Adelaide Festival), and San Diego Opera. At Opera Philadelphia, he revived the role of Teague in Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain, with which he had great success in its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera. The Glimmerglass Festival honored him as its 2016 artist-in-residence.

    A contemporary opera veteran of great renown, Mr. Morris has created many roles in world premieres, including Captain James Nolan in John Adams's Doctor Atomic at San Francisco Opera and Dutch National Opera, and the role of Marky in Howard Shore's The Fly at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and at Los Angeles Opera. He sang Father Grenville in the world premiere of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Mitch in André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, and Frère Elie in the American premiere of Messiaen's St. François d'Assise.

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  • Daniel Bubeck


    In addition to Daniel Bubeck's noted interpretations of the works of Handel, a staple of his repertoire is the music of John Adams, whose works he has interpreted many times in recent seasons. In 2012, he sang the world premiere of The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, and toured the following year in a scenic realization by Peter Sellars. Further appearances in this work have brought him to English National Opera, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Philharmonic. Other notable engagements include the role of Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Princeton Festival; excerpts from Philip Glass's Akhnaten with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Henze's Das verratene Meer with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; the American premiere of Lost Objects by composers David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon with Concerto Köln; and the title role in Scarlatti's Tigrane at the Bloomington Early Music Festival.

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  • Brian Cummings


    Brian Cummings recently appeared in the title role of Handel's Giulio Cesare with Opera Fuoco and sang the premiere of John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary in 2012 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. He made his professional debut in the premiere of Adams's El Niño in Paris and has appeared in performances of this piece throughout the world, including at Carnegie Hall and English National Opera, and with the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Moscow Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, and Estonian National Symphony orchestras; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the San Francisco Symphony, as well as at the Adelaide and Spoleto festivals. He has worked under such conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vladimir Jurowski, Robert Spano, David Robertson, John Adams, Tõnu Kaljuste, and Kent Nagano. Mr. Cummings has sung with Paul Hillier in Theatre of Voices and the Pro Arte Singers, and can be heard on their recordings for Harmonia Mundi, as well as on the recording and DVD of El Niño.

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  • Nathan Medley


    Nathan Medley's 2016-2017 season brings debuts with the Berliner Philharmoniker, San Francisco Symphony, and London Symphony Orchestra, as well as return appearances with the Los Angeles and Netherlands Radio philharmonics. He made his professional debut in 2012 in John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, and he is a founding member of Echoing Air, an ensemble that focuses on music of the Baroque and modern eras composed for countertenor. Mr. Medley's opera credits include Ottone in Handel's Agrippina with Opera Omaha, Speranza in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo with the Boston Early Music Festival, and Athamus in Handel's Semele with Pacific Music Works. In 2016, he premiered a new song cycle by John Harbison with Second City Musick in Chicago, and in 2017-2018, he will make his debut with the New York Philharmonic.

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  • Amy Kaiser


    Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus since 1995, Amy Kaiser is one of the country's leading choral directors. She has conducted the St. Louis Symphony in Handel's Messiah, Schubert's Mass in E-flat Major, Vivaldi's Gloria, and sacred works by Haydn and Mozart. A regular guest conductor for the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Massachusetts, as well as music director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York for 12 seasons, she has led many performances of major works at Lincoln Center. Other conducting engagements include concerts at Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival and more than 50 performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Principal conductor of the New York Chamber Symphony's School Concert Series for seven seasons, Ms. Kaiser also led many programs for the 92nd Street Y's acclaimed Schubertiade. She has conducted more than 25 operas, including eight contemporary premieres.

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Pre-concert

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.

Audio

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.