Menotti: The Consul

Menotti: The Consul

by Richard HickoxRichard Hickox


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One of Menotti's most enduring operas, "The Consul" had its premiere on Broadway, not in an opera house. The overtly melodramatic situation brings out the best in Menotti, and the work is a direct descendant of the verismo operas of Mascagni and Cilea. This recording includes the extension to the first interlude which Menotti added later and is not found in the published score. Based on the farewell trio, it allows Menotti to reprise one of the best tunes in the opera. This performance was recorded live in 1998 at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. We hear the footsteps as the cast moves about on stage, as well as other stage noises, bringing a true sense of the theater to the recording. Susan Bullock's interpretation of Magda is very dramatic, yet never loses vocal quality. Only Patricia Neway on the LP recording of the original cast provides a deeper look into this tormented woman's character. Victoria Livengood is excellent as the taciturn Secretary. Louis Otey has a supple baritone voice but does not erase the memories of Cornell MacNeil on the original cast album. The rest of the cast is at a very high level. Of course, no recording of this opera is complete without the glorious singing of Mabel Mercer in "Tu reviendras," which opens the opera. The recording was made for the premiere performance and has been used ever since. The orchestra and chorus are good, but not up to the standards of the finest ensembles. Richard Hickox directs a riveting performance. There are several recordings of this work, but the unavailability of the original cast recording leaves the field open. The overall superiority of this Chandos set makes it the first choice for most collectors.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/23/1999
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115970621
catalogNumber: 9706
Rank: 240630


  1. The Consul, opera

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