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Preview: Leonard Bernstein’s Mass by Orchestra of the Music Makers


Is there anything that Edith Podesta cannot do? After dipping her toes into directing opera last year with Hansel and Gretel, the critically acclaimed theatremaker will once again be teaming up with the Orchestra of Music Makers this June to present the Southeast Asian premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass.

First composed in 1971 at the behest of Jacqueline Kennedy for the inauguration of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., amidst the political and social turmoil of the 1960s, West Side Story composer Bernstein found inspiration in the Roman Catholic Mass. Mass is often considered Bernstein’s most ambitious work, transcending mere concert to become a musical, theatrical tussle that follows a Celebrant as he goes through a crisis of faith. Here, he will be played by the critically acclaimed Kevin Vortmann in his Singaporean debut, following a successful run with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Comprising of a fusion of Broadway-styled songs and church choruses, rock and roll and brassy symphonic dances, the Orchestra of the Music Makers will be joined by two choirs, rock musicians, a cast of Broadway-styled vocalists and even the 16 member Himig Sanghaya (Music of the Highest Honour) vocal ensemble from the Philippines, as they perform hymns and meditations, blues and pop and jazz. Conducted by Joshua Kangming Tan and directed by Edith Podesta, with production design by Brian Gothong Tan, the production will also feature over 230 performers to make up the masses and showcase the diversity of song in this unique show. Come join the congregation at the Esplanade Concert Hall as Bernstein’s Mass makes its premiere this June; let yourself go, raise your hands high and become one with the performance.

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass plays at the Esplanade Concert Hall on 2nd June. Tickets available from SISTIC

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