For the millennium, in 2000 American composer John Adams completed a compelling, large-scale oratorio based on the nativity story called El Niño. Now he's composed a companion piece, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a Passion oratorio mounted with his usual collaborator, the stage director and librettist Peter Sellars. A recording of the two-hour work with Gustavo Dudamel leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic was released this month.
Describing the work to NPR's Arun Rath, Adams says, "There is no person who plays the role of Jesus. There is no Mel Gibson. There is no Victor Mature or Burt Lancaster. Actually, everyone in the cast quotes Jesus at one time or another. He's just there as a luminous presence. To me Jesus is more an embodiment, a spirit rather than an actual living flesh-and-blood person." Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.