The reviews of San Francisco Opera's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Act II pictured left with William Burden as Peter and Sasha Cooke as Mary Magdalene, photograph by Cory Weaver) are varied, but mostly fair to middling.
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
* Notes *
The world premiere performance of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Nathan Gunn as Yeshua and Sasha Cooke as Mary Magdalene in Act I pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) was held yesterday at San Francisco Opera. The overture had a interesting convoluted quality to it, and in general the orchestra, conducted by Michael Christie, shimmered. The music had labyrinthine moments, but was often straightforward and tuneful. Adamo wrote his own libretto, which seemed quite earnest but had wry glimmers of humor. The best of these may have been when the chorus sang "Ibid." when citing a reference for the second time in Act I.
This opera showcases the beautiful voice of mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke in the title role. Her clean, well-supported sound has an ethereal sublimity. Nathan Gunn (Yeshua) was a bit wobbly in comparison, but his acting was fine. As Miriam, Maria Kanyova was pointed and piercing, but this did not seem inappropriate for the role. William Burden (Peter) sounded as sweet and lovely as ever. His performance of a particular bridal song at the end of Act I is moving, as was his singing with Cooke in Act II.
The rest of the cast included many young singers in the smaller roles. Current Adler Fellow A.J. Glueckert sang one aria as Levi quite nicely. The chorus sounded solid.
* Tattling *
Someone who probably has a mental-illness was in Orchestra Standing Room. He talked to himself, fidgeted, repeatedly scratched himself, velcroed and unvelcroed his man-purse for no apparent reason, and managed to scare off four people sharing the railing with him, including me.