When: Fri., March 24, 8 p.m. and Sun., March 26, 3 p.m. 2017
Composer John Adams and librettist Peter Sellars addressed Handel's Messiah from the twentieth century with their nativity oratorio El Niño. Now, from the stark weirdness of the 21st century, they bookend that work with The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a symphony/operatic mash-up that tells the story of the Passion from the point of view of Mary Magdalene, her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus. It's a massive work that requires a sound designer, a cimbalom (a large hammered dulcimer sized for concert halls), a half-dozen vocalists and the power of a full chorus. This Gospel (a joint reply to Bach and his Passions) weaves in contemporary social narratives from writers such as medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen and Dorothy Day, the bohemian who converted to Catholicism and advocated for the poor and homeless as part of the Catholic Worker Movement. It's a much more feminine view of the Passion than the version in the Bible. The St. Louis Symphony presents The Gospel According to the Other Mary at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday (March 24 and 26) at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; www.slso.org). Tickets are $25 to $111.