This fall, Chicago Opera Theater (COT) will present The Consul, a Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, hailed by the New York Times as “an opera of eloquence, momentousness, and intensity of expression… written from the heart.” A modern opera whose subject matter has proven to have lasting relevance since its premiere in 1950, The Consul features direction by former COT Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek, music direction by internationally renowned conductor Kristof van Grysperre, and stars legendary soprano Patricia Racette as Magda Sorel.
“The Consul speaks to the universal experience of immigration, removed from a set location or time,” remarked Mitisek. “As an immigrant myself, I was particularly drawn to this piece and the way it reveals the humanity of all beings. I could not have asked for a more pertinent and timely opera to cap my time as Artistic Director at the COT.”
In The Consul, Magda Sorel and her family are on the run. Political refugees, they arrive at the consulate in search of a way out. With pressure mounting and her child’s health failing, Magda desperately seeks an audience with the absent consul before it’s too late. This Pulitzer Prize-winning opera takes on new life in 2017, with Grammy award-winning soprano Patricia Racette making role debut with the work.
In addition to Racette, the cast of The Consul includes Audrey Babcock as The Secretary, Victoria Livengood as The Mother, Justin Ryan as John Sorel, Cedric Berry as Secret Police, Kyle Knapp as Nika Magadoff / The Magician, Vince Wallace as Mr. Kofner, Kimberly E. Jones as Foreign Woman, Kira Dills-DeSurra as Vera Boronel, Zacharias Niedzwiecki as Assan/Plainclothesman, and Lani Stait as Anna Gomez.
In addition to other ancillary events planned in connection with the Chicago Premiere, and in partnership with the Newberry library, COT will also presents a performance and panel featuring a performance by the Refugee Orchestra Project and the personal stories of “The Consul” director Andreas Mitisek and COT Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya on Wednesday, October 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event takes place at Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St. in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Visit cot.org/events/viewpoints/ for tickets.
The opening night of The Consul take place on Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Studebaker Theater (410 S. Michigan). Additional performances will take place on Friday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 12 at 3 p.m. Visit COT.org for details or for tickets.
Legendary opera star Patricia Racette will star as Magda Sorel in Chicago Opera Theater's fall production of The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti (photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts