The inhuman treatment endured by those who seek asylum is told through the sublime music of Gian Carlo Menotti when Opera MODO presents “The Consul.” Performances are Feb. 21-24 at The Jam Handy in Detroit.
A portion of the proceeds from the Opera MODO production of The Consul will benefit Freedom House Detroit. The composer Menotti also penned “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the first live opera broadcast on television.
Details from Opera MODO:
The Consul is a story about the inhuman treatment endured by asylum seekers; both the trauma that caused them to leave their home country and the obstacles put before them by immigration policies set by their chosen country. Menotti, who came to the United States from Italy as a boy, was moved by accounts he heard of refugees in Eastern Europe after World War II. He wrote both the text and music for the fictional story of The Consul, but left all specific mention of time and place unspecified in the score, allowing for the story’s particulars to be filled in by the director, performers and audience.
The Consul tells the visceral, heartbreaking, and infuriating story of a political dissident, John Sorel, whose family falls victim to threats and surveillance by secret police agents from the totalitarian national government. While John flees his home to escape capture, his wife, Magda, tries to obtain the necessary documentation for her family to settle in another country. Despite repeated visits to the consulate, she is unable to procure these “papers,” and is understandably frustrated by the bureaucratic barriers repeatedly set before her by the consulate’s secretary. The Consul won Menotti both the Pulitzer Prize for Music and New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for Best Musical in 1950, after an eight-month run on Broadway the same year.
Opera MODO prides itself on telling stories that reflect truths in our community and our world, regardless – and many times in spite of – what the norm is for other opera companies. Our partnership with Freedom House Detroit has helped craft the details of our production; after learning about their work, it became clear that the tragic characters in The Consul exist in a world without the life-saving assistance that Freedom House Detroit provides. We are proud to offer a portion of the proceeds from Opera MODO’s The Consul to help further the essential work done by Freedom House Detroit.