reviewed by Paula Citron
Composed by Gian Carlo Menotti
Conducted by David Angus
Directed by Sam Helfrich
Starring Melissa Citro, Michael Chioldi, Joyce Castle, Leah Wool, John Easterlin and David Kravitz
At the Alice Busch Opera Theatre until Aug. 24
Menotti’s 1950 The Consul is a revelation. The orchestration and musical effects are stunning, and Glimmerglass music director David Angus pulls out all the dramatic stops. While modernist, Menotti still clings to melody which makes for moving arias and ensembles.
Director Sam Helfrich loves symbolism, and his collaborators, Andrew Lieberman (sets) and Kaye Voyce (costumes), have created an institutional setting of exposed bricks and various period clothes that suit the character.
The strong cast is led by soprano Melissa Citro (Magda Sorel) and baritone Michael Chioldi (John Sorel). Veteran mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle is superb as Sorel’s mother, while good accounts come from mezzo-soprano Leah Wool (Secretary), baritone David Kravitz (Kofner) and tenor John Easterlin (Magician). Young baritone Robert Kerr (Secret Police Agent) is a definite talent in the making.
This story of a police state and a woman trying to get a visa to join her freedom fighter husband in exile is potent stuff.
Glimmerglass Opera continues in Cooperstown NY until Aug. 25.