Since announcing the world première of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the Spring/Summer of 2013, many subscribers have asked me why we chose to do an opera on this subject. My response is that this is one of the world’s great stories in a new and exciting version, written and performed by some of the most extraordinary artists in opera today. Some, though, have expressed bewilderment. “Mary Magdalene, sure: but a Gospel of Mary? My Bible includes only the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! How can this be an opera?”
While working on Bizet’s Carmen I found myself reflecting on the topic of “encounter with difference”—unlikely relationships that form between non-like-minded people—and pondering both the attraction and violence those experiences can generate. Both Carmen and Don José are members of marginalized minority populations in 19th-century Spain: she is a gypsy and he is a Basque.