Bernstein's MASS on Performance Oklahoma

May 28, 2013

On Saturday, April 13, 2013, an audience of over 2,300 assembled at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall to witness the Oklahoma premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS.  A project which began three years earlier, the presentation came about through the collaboration of the Canterbury Choral Society - Adult Chorus and Youth Choruses, OCU vocal students, and the 80-piece Oklahoma City University Symphony Orchestra.

Performance Oklahoma is pleased and proud to offer in an exclusive broadcast, this performance of Leonard Bernstein's MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers with text from the liturgy of the Roman Mass, and additional texts by Stephen Schwartz and Leonard Bernstein, by arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Sole Agent for Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, publisher

 Director David Herendeen offers a synopsis here

The work was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to open the new John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on September 8, 1971. Almost a decade later on February 16, 1981, Bernstein's MASS became the first work by an American-born composer performed at the Vienna State Opera. Conductor Marin Alsop writes:  "To me, MASS contains the essence of Bernstein as a complex man and artist. Sure, the music is intoxicating, but beneath the showiness on the surface is a profound statement of faith. Bernstein was a nimble composer. He moved comfortably between high art and pop culture, not confined by stylistic boundaries."

Listen here to Jamie Bernstein talk about her father's love of music of all kinds

The broadcast presents the performance of the MASS (uninterrupted) and includes commentary from members of the production staff, (David Herendeen, Randi von Ellefson, Judith Willoughby, Benjamin Nilles and Kay Holt) cast (Scott Guthrie and Jessie Muckleroy) and special guest Jamie Bernstein.  It's a remarkable program of an extraordinary performance that you won't want to miss! 

Tune in this Saturday, June 1 at 8:00 pm, on Classical 88.7-1.