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Adams: The Gospel According To The Other Mary [2 CD]

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Audio CD, April 11, 2014
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kelley OConnor, Tamara Mumford, Russell Thomas, Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, et al.
  • Orchestra: Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel
  • Composer: John Adams, Peter Sellars
  • Audio CD (April 11, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,581 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Scene 1: The next day in the city jail we were searched for drugs
2. Now a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house
3. Scene 2: And she had a sister named Mary
4. I am surprised that I am beginning to pray daily
5. Chorus: En un día de amor
6. Scene 3: Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus
7. Lazarus dies
8. Why standest thou afar off, Lord?
9. In my own quietly explosive here
10. Don t touch my left arm!
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Chorus: Who rips his flesh down the seams
2. Scene 1: Arrest of Jesus
3. Scene 2: Arrest of the Women
4. Up at two A.M., picketed all day...
5. The said defendants, on or about August 2nd
6. Prayer of the Mexican women
7. Scene 3: Golgotha
8. Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me
9. Now there stood at the cross of Jesus...
10. When Jesus saw his mother...
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A timely, controversial work of grand proportions, The Gospel According To The Other Mary is a new, full-scale re-imagining of the Bach oratorio from composer John Adams and iconoclast writer/director Peter Sellars.

Adams and Sellars previous collaborations included Nixon In China, the most-performed American opera since Gershwins Porgy and Bess, and Dr. Atomic, an opera about the invention of the atomic bomb.

Focusing on the oft marginalized perspectives of Mary Magdalene and Martha, The Gospel According To The Other Mary sets Biblical characters and events, including the resurrection of Lazarus and the passion of Christ, in a powerfully political, contemporary light.

As with the nativity oratorio El Nino (a response to Handels Messiah), and the opera Dr. Atomic, the libretto is been assembled by Peter Sellars, who has interwoven events from the New and Old Testaments with poetry reflecting themes of faith and liberation from the 12th Century mystic Hildegard von Bingen, to the 20th Century Mexican feminist poet Rosario Castellanos.

This World Premiere recording, featuring the original cast, was made in Disney Hall, Los Angeles, at performances staged by Peter Sellars - with soloists, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

A champion of contemporary music and social engagement through art, Gustavo Dudamel commissioned The Gospel…, together with the LA Phil, as part of a long-standing creative relationship with John Adams.

This important DG release marks the 5th Anniversary of Gustavo Dudamels appointment as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the 10th Anniversary of the LA Phils home, Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Packaging: the 2 CD set will come in a digi-sleeve with a 100 page booklet. It will contain an introduction by the composer and a synopsis by Peter Sellars in English; plus the libretto in the original languages (English and Spanish) with English translations of the Spanish texts.


World Premiere Recording Of John Adams
21st Century Masterpiece --The Los Angeles Times

…Both formally and thematically, it serves as a reply to Bachs Passions in much the same way that El Nino did for Handels Messiah…much of The Gospel finds Adams at his most evocative and inventive --San Francisco Chronicle

…contains some of the strongest, most impassioned music of Adams career…an immensely potent work. --The New Yorker

Customer Reviews

On the basis of one hearing, it isn't for me.
Thomas E. Lawson
Dudamel conducts with complete dramatic conviction, and both orchestra and chorus are in great form.
Santa Fe Listener
He developed a highly original poetic style that started a tradition.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is Part Two of "John Adams does the Bible," the first installment being his Nativity oratorio, El Nino. Here the angle is liberaiton theology from south America, which directed the Church's ministry toward social justice and poverty. After a period of suppression under two conservative Popes, liberation theology has gotten a boost form the highly popular new Pope, who of course comes from South America and personally embodies a connection with the mass of humble Catholics in the region. Adams, on the other hand, is an immensely clever Harvard-educated composer whose career is a model of elitist success.

This doesn't disqualify him from writing a heartfelt feminist passion, any more than Bernstein's Jewishness disqualified him from writing Mass, a multimedia extravaganza that serves as the obvious predecessor of The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Mass was a disaster at its premiere, while Adams's Gospel - backed up by the popular success of Golijov's mass-makret, Spanish-language Passion According to St. Mark - fits more smoothly into the groove of fairly innocuous political correctness. The music is just as accessible as Golijov's and on the whole less powerful and passionate.

In short, a whiff of opportunism hangs over this Gospel. In his opera Doctor Atomic contemporary poetry and a sonnet of John Donne's was inserted into the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer at the Manhattan Project, and the tactic is repeated her, with feminist poetry, largely Latino, interspersed with a New Testament narrative delivered by two countertenors. It's an effective device, no doubt more so when the audience gets dancers and a light show to go along with the score.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By operalvr on March 25, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I have not yet even received, let alone heard this recording of John Adam's Gospel According to the Other May. I attended the third of three performances, given in LA in March 2013. I flew down from San Francisco on a Saturday, attended LA Opera that night, and LAPhil's performance of Adams' Gospel on Sunday afternoon, returning to the airport following the show, and flying home still full of the array of emaotions and impressions with which I had left Disney Hall. To witness everyone performing onstage in this performance has been a shattering experience. I am glad I traveled to LA (Dudamel had to skip the second performance in order to conduct at the Chavez memorial in Caracas, but was back in town in time for the Sunday performance). The performance on that March afternoon will stay with me as long as I live. A sound recording, or even a DVD, is welcome, yet, for obvious reasons, cannot fully and adequately replace the live experience of this stunning piece. I hope that at some point in the future there will be a performance of both "El Nino" and "The Gosplel according to the Other Mary" on the same night. It would require immense commitment of both performers and audience, but I think that, in the end, the overall experience of both pieces will be truly exceptional. To me, these pieces are like a "Passion Ditych", and certainly a distinctive American response, and addition, to Johann Sebastian Bach's masterpieces. I have ordered the recording and await it's arrival eagerly. But I am confident enough to give five stars, even if prematurely. I suggest taking ample time to hear it, and hear it again, of even more often. My regret is that I did not have the opportunity to hear two consecutive performances, or even all three of them, in LA in March 2013. Sometimes one encouters a great work of art, and experiencing it only once does not do it justice. Adams' Gospel According to the Other Mary is such a work of art.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Having first heard this Passion/oratorio/pantomime/multilingual epic work composer by John Adams with a libretto by Peter Sellars (a combination of scripture from both the Old and New Testaments as well as lyrics from Dorothy Day, Louise Erdrich, Rosario Castellanos, Hildegard von Bingen, Primo Levi and Rubén Dario) first in concert performance (with promise of a future Sellars' staging offering hope that there was more to the work than the long song appeared to have), and second in the much anticipated full staging of this strange amalgamation of music, text, movement, pantomime, odd lighting etc, it is with some sense of hesitancy to see if it works simply in the recorded form.

Everyone will have a different response to the work, depending on where the format and message and music and lyrics hit mental/aural targets. The singing of Kelley O'Connor is consistently impressive as Mary Magdalene (who we meet in a drug rehab/prison situation) as she eventually moves into the influence of the Christ figure via the miracle of the raising of Lazarus (from the dead) and her sister Martha as sung by Tamara Mumford, and the narration sung by countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Nathan Medley. The Los Angeles Master Chorale is in fine form and the LA Phil under Gustavo Dudamel's direction makes the most of the exposed portions of the score (the Passover scene music is the musical highlight of the writing). But it is a long spotty work that tends to become tiresome before the ending.

Perhaps it is the attempt to blend too many forms of message and music and poetry and contemporary concepts that makes the piece ultimately earthbound. Hailed as a feminist's version of the Passion is not necessarily praise. It just remains a bit overblown and creaky instead of being a mystical rethinking of a mystery play. 5 stars for performance, 3 stars for the composition. Grady Harp, March 14
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Adams: The Gospel According To The Other Mary [2 CD]
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