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Glimmerglass Opera: The Consul July 27, 2009

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Uncategorized.
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Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to take in Glimmerglass Opera’s production of The Consul by Gian-carlo Menotti. Opera has been an acquired taste for me. Before meeting my partner, the only opera I saw was a fairly workmanlike production of  Il Nozze di Figaro at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. And I must confess I was quite underwhelmed and bored.

I’ve since seen quite a few operas, and I have seen some great performances. The Strauss Elektra at Tanglewood a few years back (which wasn’t a production but a concert performance) riveted my attention. I also enjoyed Glimmerglass’s production of Philip Glass’s Orphee based on the film by Cocteau.

The Consul moved me no end however, especially the finale of Act II. As the characters’ frustrations with faceless bureaucracy mount, they become more poetic in one of the most intriguing elements of this piece. And Magda’s aria captures the true essence of our lives, that we are all in the hands of mother earth. Even though in the third act, the Secretary and another character sing about natural forces succumbing, that forms and papers always come first, seemed a sad and pathetic bit of humor amidst the sociopathic reality Menotti comments upon.

The thing that makes me wish to blog about it though, is simply that the sentiments and notions of the work have been with us for much longer than, oh, say the 1970s.  I have been reading that the consciousness of our paradox of power and fragility has been with us for quite a long time, much longer than merely in the 20th century for that matter.  Chekhov made note of environmental concerns in the late 19th century.  But even before that there was Whitman, and Goethe, and Blake, and I’m sure others even before them.

It was wonderful however to see an opera that mixed these concerns with Kafka and prefiguring Philip K. Dick.  Most delightful find, indeed.



1. pagewands - August 5, 2009

Wow, love how you made the connection to mother earth. The papers will return there before we will hopefully. xo jody

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