Los Angeles Philharmonic

Music, Classical and opera
Kelley O’Connor

The new opera from John Adams has a gospel-tinged, pious air about it: centering on the figure of the Virgin Mary, it looks at the stubbornness and bravery of women throughout history. While reenacting certain chapters of the Bible, this complex work relies principally on sheer musical impact to convey its sacred content. The voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale – especially those of mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, contralto Tamara Mumford and tenor Russell Thomas – lead the proceedings. They are accompanied by their colleagues in the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel.

Dudamel is as charismatic and eccentric as his shock of curly black hair suggests. He began to study music at age four as part of El Sistema, Venezuela’s famous musical education program, which offers tuition to children from impoverished backgrounds. He was made musical director of the LAP in 2009, and has kept the post ever since, winning a clutch of awards en route. A musical success story if there ever was one, Dudamel promises a scintillating performance of this intriguing new work.

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