Opera180 Announces Next Event - Menotti's THE CONSUL

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Opera180 Announces Next Event - Menotti's THE CONSUL

Opera180 of Kansas City concludes its 2nd season with the 1950 Pulitzer Prize winning drama The Consul, with music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti. Performances will be April 17th & 18th at the Kansas City Masonic Temple at 903 Harrison Street in downtown Kansas City. Tickets are $25/each. The production will be sung in English.

Opera180 produces its first contemporary drama with Menotti's tragic work, The Consul. Sarah Crawford will make her company debut directing. Also making their debut will be Suzanne Hatcher as Magda Sorel, Douglin Murray Schmidt as John Sorel, Joanna Ehlers as the Mother, and Kristee Haney as the Secretary. Mark Ferrell returns for his first realized production with Opera180 as Music Director. More information about individual artists can be found here.

Congruent to Opera180's mission, the Company works to streamline productions to focus on the core action and make works relevant and accessible to current audiences. This production will run approximately 2 hours including the 20-minute intermission.

Artistic Director, Dr. Elizabeth Birger, stated "When Menotti's The Consul opened in New York City it was an instant success. First performed in 1950, it ran on Broadway for eight months before a subsequent production at the famed La Scala. Seventy years after its debut, Menotti's masterwork is still relevant.

Menotti is one of a few American composers who brilliantly marries melody and text, taking intense, captivating scenes to soaring levels of tension and release. This is most perfectly captured in Magda's aria "To this we've come," when she pleads with the Secretary to show her a shred of humanity over her authoritarian position and be given a glimmer of hope only to have it shattered. Given the current political climate, this piece stands to reemerge as one of the most compelling works written in the past century."

Executive Director, Nate Wheatley, said, "This production has been on our minds since Sadie DeSantis, Vice President of the Board, and I started talking about producing work over a lunch long ago that lead us to start this very company.

This work in particular has weighed heavy as the world around us changes. We have spent extensive amounts of time talking about not only how to produce this work, but when, where, and why. The Consul skillfully illustrates the plight and despair of immigrants who risk and lose everything. We hope that this story will speak to the hearts of every audience member regardless of where each person resides on the political spectrum.

If we can instill a sense of compassion with this story, no matter how large or small, on the heart of someone who is willing to consider an alternate perspective, then we believe there is common ground on which to have a larger conversation."

Often thought of as the opera that conquered Broadway, Menotti demanded that his "musical drama" play on Broadway instead of the opera house stage. Written in the wake of World War II, Menotti wrote this tragedy dealing with the plight of refugees from repressive regimes. The Consul went on to be awarded not only the 1950 Pulitzer Prize in Music, but the Drama Critics Circle Award for best musical. The Consul ran for 269 performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

It is believed that Menotti based The Consul on two different stories. One dealing with a group of Austrian refugees during World War II that fled into Hungary and, without passports, they were trapped for a week as neither Austria nor Hungary would admit them. The other dealt with a Polish immigrant and her daughter who traveled to the US to join her husband, but upon arriving at Ellis Island they were denied entry because her husband said he had divorced her. He agreed to accept the child and refused to sponsor her. She then committed suicide in an Ellis Island holding room.

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