Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in Philadelphia

At first, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass seems like an answer to lots of questions no one has ever bothered to ask. Questions like, “What would happen if you mixed the Symphony of Psalms with Jesus Christ Superstar?” “Who knew that Verizon Hall has an orchestra pit?” “Why don’t all masses have bongos?” “What would it take to get Yannick to conduct wearing a t-shirt?” OK, someone from Marketing probably has already asked that last one.

But while I can’t shake the feeling that something about this piece is inorganic, it’s also, at times, amazing, and the last half hour or so is absolutely brilliant. I doubt a better case could be made for it than this ambitious, inclusive, and extremely polished production.

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