Release date: 3/29/2013

World Premiere of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene Inspires Ancillary Events Throughout Bay Area, April—July 2013

Seminars, lectures, Post-Performance Discussions and More
Featuring Mary Magdalene Scholars, Educators, Cast/Creative Team Members
Explore the Opera's Creation and the Fascinating Figure of Mary Magdalene

Photos Available
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 29, 2013)—The world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at San Francisco Opera on June 19 has inspired a host of ancillary events throughout the Bay Area that will explore not only the making of the opera, but also a variety of related issues surrounding the fascinating figure of Mary Magdalene.
 
Shrouded in mystery and controversy, the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene has long intrigued scholars, historians and religious groups, inciting debate and on-going scholarly research as well as blockbuster novels and other creative works.  San Francisco Opera has partnered with an array of cultural, religious and educational institutions throughout the Bay Area to present preview discussions with the opera’s cast and creative team members; seminars and workshops exploring the myths of Mary Magdalene and Mary Magdalene’s place in text, tradition, history and art; lively post-performance discussions at the War Memorial Opera House; and numerous other events leading up to the opera’s premiere and beyond.
 
Among the events taking place in April through July are a series of free public events at Grace Cathedral with The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, composer Mark Adamo, and others examining topics ranging from “The Textual Magdalene: Apostle or Prostitute?,” “Mary Magdalene in Arts and Culture,” and “The Power Struggle over Mary Magdalene”; seminars led by cultural historian and Mary Magdalene expert Kayleen Asbo including explorations into the myths of Mary Magdalene and contemporary images of Mary Magdalene in music, art, poetry and film; a preview of the opera featuring Mark Adamo and the stars of the opera presented by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco; discussions on Mary Magdalene from Jungian and psychoanalytic perspectives; lectures presented by the Stanford Women’s Club and San Francisco Opera Guild, and more.  A calendar of ancillary events follows below; please visit sfopera.com/magdalene for more information and event updates.
 
About The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
 
Mary Magdalene was long dismissed as a minor figure in Christian lore until, in 1948, archaeologists discovered a trove of alternate versions of Gospels that argued she may not only have been Jesus’ closest companion, but also his most respected and esteemed disciple.  The resulting controversy has inspired and inflamed Western culture for the past sixty years.  Now Mark Adamo, the composer-librettist of internationally acclaimed operas Little Women and Lysistrata, approaches the debate with a new grand-scale opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.  Supported by six years of his own research into ancient texts and modern biblical scholarship, Adamo has written a libretto that scrutinizes Christian scripture and transforms it into an alternate history of sorts.  Played out through human characters struggling with the role of sexuality in a patriarchal world, the opera reimagines a neglected, yet pivotal, female character who was traditionally (and erroneously) labeled as a prostitute but who, amidst the contentious religious politics of the time, was able to show Jesus the moral dignity of women.
 
Commissioned by San Francisco Opera, the opera stars Sasha Cooke as Mary Magdalene and Nathan Gunn as Yeshua (Jesus).  The resplendent cast also features soprano Maria Kanyova as Miriam (the mother of Yeshua) and William Burden as the apostle Peter.  Director Kevin Newbury and conductor Michael Christie both make their San Francisco Opera debuts with this production.  The Gospel of Mary Magdalene will run for seven performances from June 19 through July 7, 2013 at the War Memorial Opera House as part of San Francisco Opera’s Summer 2013 Season.

Tickets for The Gospel of Mary Magdalene are priced from $22 to $340 and may be purchased at sfopera.com or through the San Francisco Opera Box Office [301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street), or by phone at (415) 864-3330].  Standing Room tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance; tickets are $10 each, cash only.  For more information about The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and San Francisco Opera’s Summer Season, visit sfopera.com.
 
 
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA’S THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE
CALENDAR OF ANCILLARY EVENTS
Visit sfopera.com/magdaleneevents for more information and updates.
All schedules/programs are subject to change.
 
Tuesdays, April 16May 21, 2013 / 10:15 a.m.                                             
OSHER LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE, DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
The Tamalpais 501 Via Casitas, Greenbrae
 
Myths and Mysteries of Mary Magdalene with Kayleen Asbo
The greatest disciple or reformed prostitute? Contemplative ascetic or bride of Christ? From Donatello to Dan Brown, Giotto to the Gnostic Gospels, Rilke to Rodin, this pivotal woman is a mirror of the sacred across time as an image of both spirituality and sensuality.
 
Six classes:  April 16, 23, 30; May 7, 14, 21, 2013; 10:15 a.m.—12 p.m.
 
Registration and information:  Basic annual membership fee $30; course fee $120; first-time OLLI members receive $60 off.  Registration begins March 25 for Basic Members. All members must register by the first day of the course(s). To register by phone with a credit card call (415) 458-3763. To register by mail print a registration form from www.domincan.edu/osher and mail it in with a check to the address indicated on the registration form.  For more information visit www.dominican.edu/osher.
 
 
 
April 24, 2013 / 6:30 p.m.—8:30 p.m.
STANFORD WOMEN’S CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO
Fort Mason, RM C370, Marina Blvd, San Francisco
 
Women in Early Christianity
Stanford professor Dr. Kirsti Barrett Copeland is a lecturer in the Stanford Department of Religious Studies. 
Dr. Copeland explores the roles of Mary Magdalene and the other female characters in the early Christian community, as described in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and also as portrayed in the non-canonical Gospels of Mary, Phillip and Thomas.
 
Registration and information:  Stanford Women’s Club of SF member $10; non-members $15. Register at


 
May 1, 2013 / 7:00 p.m.  ONLINE
FREE TELESEMINAR WITH KAYLEEN ASBO
 
The Myths of Mary Magdalene
Join cultural historian, musician and professor Kayleen Asbo for a free introductory teleseminar introducing the many diverse portrayals of Mary Magdalene, from Orthodox apostle to Medieval penitent sinner to Gnostic embodiment of wisdom. Free to the public.
 
Registration and information:  www.kayleenasbo.com/mary-magdalene.
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May 3, 2013 / 7:30 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
Concert Hall; 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
Opera Theatre Performance
Mark Adamo’s opera The Little Women will be performed in a fully-staged production by students of the Conservatory’s Opera Theatre program (piano accompaniment.)
 
Registration and information:  Free.  No ticket required. More information at www.sfcm.edu/performance-calendar.
 

May 5, 2013 / 2:00 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
Concert Hall; 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
Opera Theatre Performance
Mark Adamo’s opera The Little Women will be performed in a fully-staged production by students of the Conservatory’s Opera Theatre program (piano accompaniment.)
 
Registration and information:  Free.  No ticket required. More information at www.sfcm.edu/performance-calendar.
 
 

May 5, 2013 / 2:00 p.m.—5 p.m.
THE C.G. JUNG INSTITUTE OF SAN FRANCISCO
2040 Gough Street, San Francisco
                                                               
The C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco presents: A Discussion on Mary Magdalene
Jungian analysts Karlyn Ward and Janet Robinson will explore the psychological and archetypal meaning of Mary Magdalene in Mark Adamo's opera and John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, with selected art and music. A wine & cheese reception will follow the presentation.
 
Registration and information:  Free to members of Friends of the Institute; $20 non-members; $10 students and interns. Register at www.marymagdalenearchetype.eventbrite.com.
  

May 7, 2013 / 6:30 p.m.—8:30 p.m.
STANFORD WOMEN’S CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO
Fort Mason, RM C370, Marina Blvd, San Francisco
 
The Magdalene Figure in Religion, Art and Culture
Stanford professor Dr. Barbara Pitkin is a Senior Lecturer in the Stanford Department of Religious Studies. Dr. Pitkin’s lecture will focus on Mary Magdalene in religion, art and culture from the Middles Ages to the present.
Dr. Pitkin is a Senior Lecturer in the Stanford Department of Religious Studies.  

Registration and information:  Stanford Women’s Club of SF member $10; non-members $15. Register at alumni.stanford.edu/goto/springlectures .
 



May 19, 2013 / 2 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA GUILD EAST BAY CHAPTER
Del Valle Clubhouse; 1751 Tice Creek Drive, Rossmoor, Walnut Creek
 
San Francisco Opera Guild’s East Bay Chapter presents:  An Afternoon with Mark Adamo
San Francisco Opera’s Director of Music Administration Dr. Clifford (Kip) Cranna will interview composer and librettist Mark Adamo about the making of his world premiere opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Baritone Austin Kness, a former Adler Fellow, accompanied by Matthew Piatt, will sing arias from Mary Magdalene and other selections.
 
Tickets and information:  $30; $20 Rossmoor Opera/Ballet Club members; for reservations contact Silvia Lin at (925) 838-9255 or LLLLL@juno.com; www.sfopera.com/afternoonwithmarkadamo.
  

May 19, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Chapter Room
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
Who is Mary Magdalene?
Grace Cathedral Class:  A general overview of Mary Magdalene’s place in text, tradition and history.
 
Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 

May 19, 2013 / 7:00 p.m.
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF SAN FRANCISCO
3200 California Street, San Francisco
 
Jewish Community Center of San Francisco Presents: Previewing The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
Composer and librettist Mark Adamo will discuss the process that led to his reinterpretation of Mary Magdalene, who is at the heart of one of the world’s most controversial mythologies.  Featuring musical excerpts and the stars of the world premiere opera, soprano Sasha Cooke (Mary Magdalene) and baritone Nathan Gunn (Yeshua). Moderated by Dr. Clifford (Kip) Cranna.
 
Tickets and information:  $22 JCCSF members; $25 general.  For more information, www.jccsf.org/arts.

May 25, 2013 / 7:30pm         
ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
40 Fifth Street, Petaluma
 
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene: Vision and Inspiration
A conversation between composer and librettist Mark Adamo and Kayleen Asbo, MA.
 
Information: suggested donation: $10
 


May 26, 2013 / 2 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA GUILD PENINSULA CHAPTER
Los Altos Hills residence
 
San Francisco Opera Guild’s Peninsula Chapter presents:  An Afternoon with Mark Adamo
San Francisco Opera’s Director of Music Administration Dr. Clifford (Kip) Cranna will interview composer and librettist Mark Adamo about the making of his world premiere opera, with musical excerpts.
 
Cost and information:  $50-$150; for more information, contact Judy Kahn at (650) 948-8881 or judith.kahn@comcast.net.
 

 
May 26, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Chapter Room
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
The Textual Magdalene: Apostle or Prostitute?
Grace Cathedral Class:  An examination of how the character of Mary Magdalene is portrayed across a variety of early Christian literatures. Free to all, donations gratefully accepted.

Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 

 
June 2, 2013 / 9:30 a.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Gresham Hall
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
The Forum at Grace Cathedral presents: Mary Magdalene in Text and History
Professor Rebecca Lyman, Professor Kate Cooper and The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral, discuss the non-canonical Gospel of Mary, its place in early Christianity and the role of women in the early churches.
 
Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 

June 2, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Chapter Room
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
The Power Struggle over Mary Magdalene
Grace Cathedral Class:  A discussion of how and why The Gospel of Mary and other early Christian literature didn't make it into the Bible.
 
Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 

 
Wednesdays, June 5–26­­, 2013 / 10:00 a.m.
OSHER LIFELONG LEARNING INSTITUTE AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY
1925 Walnut Street #1570, Berkeley
 
Contemporary Images of Mary Magdalene in Music, Art, Poetry and Film with Kayleen Asbo
Mary Magdalene has been one of the most controversial, paradoxical and beloved figures of the New Testament.  Throughout history she has been characterized as the Apostle to the Apostles, a wealthy disciple, a model of the contemplative life, a penitent sinner, an ascetic hermit and a prostitute. In our own times, there has been an explosion of interest in Mary Magdalene in novels, films and music. This four-week OLLI course will explore three foundational myths of Mary Magdalene found in the Canonical Gospels, Medieval legends and the Gnostic texts and see how these each inform the works of contemporary artists, composers and writers. Featured prominently in the class will be Mark Adamo’s opera The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, John Adams’ oratorio The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Peeter Vahi’s Mary Magdalene Gospel, Arvo Pärt’s The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, and the paintings of Johanna Poethig, as well as discussion of the newly discovered controversial papyrus fragment described by Harvard professor Karen King as "The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife." Composer Mark Adamo will be a special guest.
 
Four classes: June 5, 12, 19, 26, 2013; 10 a.m.—12 p.m.

Registration and information:  Course fee $95 plus OLLI membership $40/$50; www.olli.berkeley.edu.
 

June 9, 2013 / 9:30 a.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Gresham Hall
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
The Forum at Grace Cathedral presents: Mary Magdalene in Arts and Culture
Composer Mark Adamo and soprano Sasha Cooke join The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw to discuss Mary Magdalene as the muse for San Francisco Opera's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Attend on site at Grace Cathedral, or tune in to the live audio webcast or archived recordings at www.gracecathedral.org/forum.
 
Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 



June 9, 2013 / 4:30 p.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
Chapter Room
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
Becoming Mary Magdalene: The Evolving Tradition of Mary Magdalene in the West
Grace Cathedral Class:  Why do we find Mary Magdalene so fascinating? How our shifting political and religious landscape has affected our interpretation of Mary Magdalene and her story.
Information:  FREE to all; suggested donation of $10.  For more information, www.gracecathedral.org or (415) 749-6300.
 

 
June 10–June 13, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA GUILD: THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE PREVIEW LECTURES
Presented by local Guild Chapters (East Bay, Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco and Peninsula) and the San Jose Opera Guild, Dr. Lynne Morrow will give in-depth previews of the opera at various Bay Area locations.
 
June 10, 2013 / 8 p.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild, Marin Chapter
Villa Marin, 100 Thorndale Drive, San Rafael
Tickets: $12; $10 members
 
June 11, 2013 / 10 a.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild, San Jose Opera Guild
Saratoga Foothill Club, 20399 Park Place, Saratoga
Tickets: $10
 
June 11, 2013 / 7:30 p.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild, Peninsula Chapter
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper Street, Palo Alto
Tickets:  $8 members; $10 non-members
 
June 12, 2013 / 12 p.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild / San Francisco Chapter
Koret Auditorium, Lower Level, New Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco
This event is FREE to the public.
 
June 12, 2013 / 8 p.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild, East Bay Chapter
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 451 Moraga Way, Orinda
Tickets: $10
 
June 13, 2013 / 10:30 a.m. / San Francisco Opera Guild, Sonoma Chapter
Kenwood Depot, 314 Warm Springs Road, Kenwood
Tickets: $10
 
Information:  For more information, visit www.sfopera.com/previews.
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June 15, 2013 / 9:30 a.m.
GRACE CATHEDRAL
1100 California Street, San Francisco
 
Finding the Light Within: Mary Magdalene and the Labyrinth; a One-Day Workshop with Veriditas Master Teacher Kayleen Asbo
The Gnostic texts depict Mary Magdalene as the "Woman Who Knew All," an intimate companion of Jesus who had realized her full humanity and who taught a path of contemplative connection with the divine. In this one-day workshop at Grace Cathedral,  explore the Gnostic perspective on Mary Magdalene and learn ancient spiritual practices for discovering one’s own inner light, including Lectio Divina, art meditation, journaling, and labyrinth walking. This serves as a qualifying workshop for Veriditas Facilitator training.
 
Registration and information: $150; register at www.veriditas.org/calendar.
 


June 17, 2013 / 6:00 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA GUILD: THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE INSIGHT PANEL
San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak Street, San Francisco
 
Delve into the making of the opera in a panel discussion among members of the cast and artistic and creative teams.
 
Tickets and information:  $5 for the general public, available at the door 30 minutes prior to discussions; FREE to Opera members and subscribers.  For more information, www.sfopera.com/insights.
 


June 19—July 7, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA: PRE-OPERA TALKS
San Francisco War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
 
June 19, 2013 / 6:35 p.m.
June 22, 2013 / 7:05 p.m.
June 25, 2013 / 7:05 p.m.
June 28, 2013 / 7:05 p.m.
July 2, 2013 / 6:35 p.m.
July 5, 2013 / 7:05 p.m.
July 7, 2013 / 1:05 p.m.
 
Before every opera performance, listen to charismatic music scholars present a 25-minute overview of the opera, with insights on the music, composer and historical background. Enhance your experience by attending Pre-Opera Talks, whether you're a newcomer, opera aficionado or anywhere in between.  The Gospel of Mary Magdalene Pre-Opera Talks will be presented by pianist and KALW Radio host Sarah Cahill.
 
Information:  FREE to ticketholders and take place in the theater of the War Memorial Opera House, 55 minutes prior to curtain.  For more information, www.sfopera.com/operatalks.
 


June 19—July 7, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA: THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALENE POST PERFORMANCE DISCUSSIONS
San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
 
Join cultural historian and mythologist Kayleen Asbo for an engaging discussion immediately following each performance of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.


Information:  FREE to ticketholders; for more information, www.sfopera.com/Magdalene.
  

July 7, 2013 / 5:00 p.m.
OPERA ON THE COUCH
Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
 
Immediately following the Sunday July 7 matinee performance of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, members of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis will discuss the opera’s theme from a psychoanalytic perspective.
 
Information:  FREE and open to the public; for more information, www.sfopera.com/Magdalene.
 




     San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield, Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem. San Francisco Opera is supported, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. 
     Wells Fargo is San Francisco Opera's Season Sponsor. San Francisco Opera is proud to recognize its corporate partners: United, the Official Airline of San Francisco Opera, and Chevron, fueling great performances everywhere.
     The world premiere of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is made possible, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
     OperaVision, high-definition projection screens featured in the upper Balcony level, is made possible by the Koret-Taube Media Suite.
     Yamaha is the official piano of San Francisco Opera. Pianos provided by Music Exchange.
 
2012–13 Season Sponsor
 
 
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San Francisco Opera Communications –
   Jon Finck (415) 565-6472 / jfinck@sfopera.com
   Julia Inouye  (415) 565-6430 / jinouye@sfopera.com
   Robin Freeman (415) 565-6451 / rfreeman@sfopera.com
National Press Representation –
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