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Jan. 17: Carnegie Mellon's School of Music Presents Menotti's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Opera, The Consul


Eric Sloss                          

Carnegie Mellon's School of Music Presents
Menotti's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Opera, The Consul

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music will perform Gian-Carlo Menotti's politically charged 1950 opera, The Consul, at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24, through Saturday, Jan. 26, and at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27 in the Philip Chosky Theatre in the Purnell Center for the Arts. Gregory Lehane is the director, and Robert Page the conductor. 

Menotti, who attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, wrote the music and libretto for  this Cold War opera, which focuses on dissident John Sorel and his family's attempts to escape a police state. John flees the country while his wife Magda, baby and mother try to leave legally. The secret police use John's family to lure him back and when he returns his is arrested. Magda, whose baby has died, commits suicide. The opera won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize as well as the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best musical.

"The Consul is Gian-Carlo Menotti's protest of what he found to be an increasingly bureaucratic world, one in which human lives could be reduced to paperwork and filed away," said Tim Israel, the production's dramaturge. "When it premiered, The Consul was commenting on the emigration crisis that plagued post-World War II Europe. As far as current relevance, you could argue that we're still speaking on the issue of refugee neglect."

Born in 1911, Menotti died on Feb. 1, 2007. He founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, as well Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. Menotti wrote the libretto for Barber's 1958 opera, Vanessa. 

Lehane has taught in Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama since 1992. He has directed television programs for PBS, TBS, Lifetime and Nickelodeon and was twice nominated for an Emmy. He was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's 2003 Director of the Year.

Page is the Paul Mellon University Professor of Music and director of choral activities and opera studies at Carnegie Mellon. He was director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh from 1979 to 2006.

For tickets, call 412-268-2407. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for Carnegie Mellon students with ID.