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Gian Carlo Menotti

Publisher: G. Schirmer

The Medium (1946)
Text Writer
Libretto by the composer.
G Schirmer Inc
Opera and Music Theatre
Sub Category
Grand Opera
Year Composed
1 Hours 20 Minutes
English, German, Italian, Russian
Alto, Soprano, Soprano, Bar, Mezzo soprano, dancer

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Score Score
Libretto Libretto
Vocal Score Vocal Score

Programme Note
Gian Carlo Menotti The Medium (1946)
Cast List:

   MONICA, daughter of Madame Flora: Soprano
   TOBY, a mute
   MADAME FLORA (Baba): Contralto
   MRS. GOBINEAU: Soprano
   MR. GOBINEAU: Baritone
   MRS. NOLAN: Mezzo-Soprano


Madame Flora, with the help of her daughter Monica and Toby, a mute servant, tries to cheat her clients through faked seances. She is touched herself by a hand during one of them, an occurrence she cannot explain and which drives her to insanity and murder.

  • Ensemble
    Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
    Thomas Schippers
  • Ensemble
    Stratford Ensemble
    Maureen Forrester (Alto), Gino Quilico (Baritone), Rosemarie Landry (Soprano)
    Raffi Armenian
    Video Arts Int'l (DVD):
  • Ensemble
    Chicago Opera Theater Ensemble
    Patrice Michaels (Soprano), Diane Ragains (Soprano), Joyce Castle (Mezzo Soprano), Barbara Landin (Mezzo Soprano), Joana Lind, Peter Van DeGraaff (Bass Baritone)
    Lawrence Rapchak
    Cedille Records:
  • Ensemble
    Rome Radio Italiana Orchestra
    Marie Powers, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Leo Coleman.
    Thomas Schippers
    Video Arts Int'l (DVD):
  • Peral:
In 1950, Menotti returned to Italy to direct his first and only feature film. He took his Broadway hit, THE MEDIUM, expanded it, and turned it into what remains one of the few completely successful cinematic renderings of an opera. Rarely seen in the US since its original release, the movie now makes a spectacular and most welcome appearance on DVD. With this film, Menotti was able to "open up" his story beyond Madame Flora's dingy flat, taking her into the streets and alleys of a decaying postwar Rome. The gritty neo-Realistic look of the film, so typical of other Italian features of its era, lends a rawness no theatrical [presentation] could ever hope to achieve. Marie Powers [was] Madame Flora when the work was staged on Broadway, in tandem with THE TELEPHONE. This powerful contralto's performance is preserved here in all its terrifying intensity. Thomas Schippers, in what amounted to his recording debut, draws a vivid performance from the Symphony Orchestra of Rome Radio Italiana. It is remarkable that Menotti was able to take opera - one of the least realistic art forms - and charge it full of Rossellinian cinematic realism. The film is done in such a naturalistic fashion that one almost forgets its dialogue is being sung rather than spoken. This remains a remarkable achievement, as chillingly effectively today as it was more than 50 years ago.
Eric Myers, Opera News,1/1/0001
Watch out boys, Baba's back in town. It's astonishing that this is the first time that "The Medium" has been [released] on CD. In Menotti's classic of dramatics, "The Medium" is pretty strong stuff and impossible to dislike. The first act is inhumanly close to musical and dramatic perfection. [And] the recording quality is vivid: Cedille and the Chicago Opera Theater have done an excellent job with this [performance].
Raymond Tuttle , Fanfare,1/1/0001
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