Reykjavik Arts Festival – World Premiere
The Gospel of Mary is a new and magnificent oratorio by Hugi Guðmundsson, one of Iceland's foremost contemporary composers. Nila Parly and Niels Brunse's libretto is largely based on a 5th century eponymous sacred text, believed to have been kept secret since it jarred with the Christian orthodoxy oft hose times. It is an unconventional and progressive interpretation of Christ's message asa path to inner wisdom, rejecting death and suffering as ways to achieve eternal life. The gospel hints at Mary Magdalene having been an apostle, a truly volatile idea. This ancient gospel strongly resonates with our modern times, while the composer elevates it into a timeless space.
The work is performed by a group of outstanding musicians: Schola Cantorum, Oslo Sinfonietta and Berit Norbakken, conducted by Hörður Áskelsson who commissioned the oratorio on behalf of the Friends of the Arts Society, original commissions being at the heart of the society's work. Berit Norbakken is one of Norway's best-known sopranos and has performed around the world, including in the Sydney Opera House and Tokyo Opera Palace.