Before Madonna was into Kabbalah, Gertrude Stein was into Saint Teresa of Ávila, a 16th-century Spanish mystic who was reportedly obsessed with levitating and believed in a supernatural ascent of the soul through “mental prayer.” In 1927, Stein teamed up with composer Virgil Thomson and wrote the libretto for an opera, Four Saints in Three Acts, which features the story of Saint Teresa and another Spanish saint, Ignatius of Loyola. And from the moment the opera premiered, it defied expectations, originally being staged on Broadway with an all-black cast of European saints. In 2000, choreographer Mark Morris adapted the opera for dance, and this weekend, the Mark Morris Dance Group reprises its production at BAM with a few tricks of its own—most notably sets by the illustrator Maira Kalman. The production opens with the world premiere of A Choral Fantasy, which has costumes by the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.
Thu., March 1, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., March 2, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 3, 7:30 p.m., 2012