The Gospel of Mary - women at the center of Christianity

The Gospel of Mary - women at the center of Christianity
© Dagur Sigurdsson

The world premiere of Hugi Gudmundsson’s oratorio The Gospel of Mary will take place June 6, 2022, at the Reykjavik Arts Festival with Oslo Sinfonietta, Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis and soprano Berit Norbakken, under the direction of Hörður Áskelsson.

The Gospel of Mary was commissioned by Hallgrimskirkja Friends of the Arts Society, Oslo International Church Music Festival & Århus Sinfonietta.

The Danish premiere will take place during KLANG festival on June 14, 2022 with Århus Sinfonietta, Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis and soprano Berit Norbakken, under the direction of Hörður Áskelsson.

The Norwegian premiere will take place during the second half of the Oslo International Church Music Festival on September 6, 2022 with Oslo Sinfonietta, Schola Cantorum Reykjavicensis and soprano Berit Norbakken, under the direction of Hörður Áskelsson.

The oratorio is based on the non-canonical text from a fifth century papyrus codex, popularly known as ‘The Gospel of Mary’, believed to be written by Mary Magdalene. The codex presents a radical interpretation of Jesus' teachings as a path to inner spiritual knowledge, rejecting suffering and death as a path to eternal life. In the gospel, Mary Magdalene is an Apostle, with a close relationship to Jesus.

With a libretto compiled by Nila Parly and Niels Brunse, The Gospel of Mary combines texts from the gospel, with early female theologists and original choral verses. It is the story of Mary Magdalene and her central role in Christianity. Women were part of the birth of Christianity but have been toned down and hidden. It is a story of female oppression and patriarchy. An important story to be told.

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