The Consul

Opera in Three Acts // Sung in English
Gian Carlo Menotti // Composer & Librettist
November 3, 4, 5 // 7:30 pm
November 6 // 2:00 pm
Old Auditorium

Norbert Baxa Conductor
Nancy Hermiston Director
Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra

Written in 1949, this topical opera was awarded the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Music and features a melodic score along with a gripping narrative story lightened by some magical touches. Gian Carlo Menotti was moved by events during and after World War II, when many nations would not admit refugees. The work has been produced on Broadway to great acclaim as well as in opera houses in Milan, London, Paris, Berlin, Zurich and Vienna.

The Consul is set in an unspecified European country under totalitarian rule. Dissident John Sorel is on the run from the secret police and is hidden by his wife Magda and his mother. After their home is searched, the family make a plan to cross the border, with Magda, their child and John’s mother applying legally to leave first. John will stay in hiding somewhere near the border and reunite with them when they are safe. Magda joins several other applicants waiting for an exit visa at the consul’s office. The process is long and Magda is still being questioned by the police while she fights the bureaucracy. As the months drag on, both John’s child and mother become ill and pass away. With the visa application stalled Magda contemplates suicide to prevent John risking his life for her. Meanwhile, unable to make plans together, John returns from hiding and is captured in the consul’s office. Despondent, and with visions of her past crowding her mind, Magda prepares to kill herself. Her telephone rings as the secretary finally tries to reach her. For the Sorel family, once again it is too little too late.