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Gian Carlo Menotti

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The Consul (1950)
Text Writer
Libretto by the composer.
G Schirmer Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Year Composed
2 Hours 0 Minutes
English, French, German, Italian, Polish
Solo Instrument(s)
2 Baritones, 4 Sopranos, 2 Altos, Bass, Mezzo soprano, Bass baritone, 2 silent roles
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Programme Note
Gian Carlo Menotti The Consul (1950)
1950 Pulitzer Prize in Music

Cast List:

   JOHN SOREL: Baritone
   MAGDA SOREL: Soprano
   THE MOTHER: Contralto
   THE SECRETARY: Mezzo-Soprano
   MR. KOFNER: Bass-Baritone
   ANNA GOMEZ: Soprano
   VERA BORONEL: Contralto
   ASSAN: Baritone


Set in Europe, John has fled his country, which is under a dictatorship, to save his life and wants his wife, Magda, his baby and his mother to join him. Magda is frustrated by the red tape at the consul’s office and her inability to see him. When John returns home, he discovers that Magda is dead and he is arrested by the secret police.

View Vocal Score

  • Ensemble
    Florence Maggio Musicale Orchestra, Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus
    Giorgio Giorgetti (Baritone), Gianluigi Colmagro (Baritone), Virginia Zeani (Soprano), Giovanna Fioroni (Soprano), Gianfranco Casarini (Bass), Joy Davidson (Mezzo Soprano), Graziano Del Vivo (Bass), Bibiana Goldenthal (Soprano), Giuliana Matteini (Soprano), Flora Rafanelli (Soprano), Nico Castel (Tenor)
    Thomas Schippers
    Opera D'oro:
  • Ensemble
    Spoleto Festival Orchestra
    Giovanna Manci (Soprano), Robin Blitch Wiper (Soprano), Herbert Eckhoff (Baritone), Victoria Livengood (Mezzo Soprano), Charles Austin (Bass), Louis Otey (Baritone), Jacalyn Kreitzer (Alto), Malin Fritz (Alto), Susan Bullock (Soprano), Graeme Broadbent (Baritone), John Horton Murray (Tenor)
    Richard Hickox
  • Soloist(s)
    Patricia Neway (Soprano), Evelyn Sachs (Alto), Leon Lishner (Bass), Regina Sarfaty (Mezzo Soprano), Arnold Voketaitis (Bass Baritone), Maria Marlo (Soprano), Norman Kelley (Tenor), Dan Merriman (Baritone), Maria Di Gerlando (Soprano), Chester Ludgin (Baritone), Ruth Kobart (Mezzo Soprano)
    Video Arts Intt'l (DVD):
  • Soloist(s)
    Patricia Neway (Soprano), Evelyn Sachs (Alto), Leon Lishner (Bass), Regina Sarfaty (Mezzo Soprano), Arnold Voketaitis (Bass Baritone), Maria Marlo (Soprano), Norman Kelley (Tenor), Dan Merriman (Baritone), Maria Di Gerlando (Soprano), Chester Ludgin (Baritone), Ruth Kobart (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Ensemble
    Berkshire Opera Company
    John Davies, Michael Chioldi (Baritone), Joyce Castle (Alto), John Cheek (Bass), Emily Golden (Mezzo Soprano), Nathalie Morais, Arianna Zukerman, Elisabeth Canis (Alto), Beverly Thiele (Soprano), David Cangelosi (Tenor), James Demler (Baritone)
    Joel Revzen
    Newport Classic:
  • Ensemble
    Orchestra of the Wiener Volksoper
    Eberhard Waechter, Melitta Muszely, Res Fischer, Willy Ferenz, Hilde Konetzni, László Szemere
    Franz Bauer-Theussl
    Arthaus Musik:
Composed in 1950 to his own libretto, THE CONSUL was Menotti's first full-length opera. [With] its topic, the plight of political refugees, Menotti's dark, gritty, edgy post-verismo score generally inhabits a sound world [of] moody lyricism and spikiness. He makes extensive use of recitatives and successfully blends speech with music [in its] tension and emotional disintergration. Gripping, dramatic, and affecting, with a near-ideal match of subject and music, it is, to me, his best. THE CONSUL is a potent work of music drama. Strongly recommended.
Benjamin Pernick, Fanfare,01/01/0001
The vivid new Chandos recording was made live last year at the Spoleto Festival, with Richard Hickox, a passionate advocate of this early response to the Cold War. Menotti [has written] sweeping tunes that instantly catch in the mind. Menotti can also heighten tension in cunningly placed ensembles and Hickox builds them masterfully with an excellent orchestra and a good cast. It is astonishing that this work has been neglected for so long.
Edward Greenfield, The Guardian (London),01/01/0001
The Consul offers proof that long-lined melody, backed by dramatic orchestration [with] plodding rhythms and dark, repetitious motifs can convey the accumulating weight of frustration. The power of The Consul is in the way its score and taut, compelling libretto mesh, expressing contemporary life as powerfully as screaming dissonance or chaotic rhythms.
Wynne Delacoma, Chicago Sun-Times ,01/01/0001
When the opera first opened (on Broadway no less) in March of 1950 it was a phenomenal success. This 1960 production produced for television (an early attempt at "pay for view") gives clear evidence why. Not only does it preserve the original 1950 score before Menotti made some editorial changes, but also the extraordinary performance of Patricia Neway, the original Magda is an important historical document, but is also a strong, compelling, deeply emotional performance. There isn't a weak link here. The production is an intimate one [and] darkly evocative…
Charles H. Parsons, American Record Guide,01/01/0001
Menotti's opera THE CONSUL is a nightmare-thriller of an opera, set in a police state where the central character, Magda, is trying to flee the country and in need of a visa from the unseen and unheard consul. It does feel like Puccinian verismo, albeit with contemporary touches and a fantasy element that sits beside the thriller tension. But mostly this is music-theatre of unnerving power-with a climactic Act 2 aria that stops the show, your heart and your disbelief. Menotti has (or had, in 1950 when the piece was written) an instinctive feel for high suspense, and what he created in THE CONSUL is Hitchcock with recitatives. With a powerful staging by Simon Callow, [this production] was a pleasure. In fact, it's far and away the best thing I've ever seen at Holland Park.
Michael White, The Independent (London),01/01/0001
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