Friday, February 02, 2007

The Consul

Gian Carlo Menotti died on Thursday at the age of 95. He is probably best known in the United States for his classic Christmas Opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors (premiered on NBC television in 1951). My favorite of his operas is The Consul, which premiered the previous year in Philadelphia and shortly thereafter moved to Broadway where it won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Set in an anonymous European city in the present, the opera depicts a tragic drama of a doomed freedom-fighter and his wife. It is the wife who for much of the opera attempts to obtain a Visa from the Consul for her husbands passage out of the country. the action, as with most operas leads to a tragic ending. More complex than his previous operas, this masterpiece demonstrates Menotti's ability to balance tonality and atonality in his musical portrayal of the dramatic scenes of the opera.

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