Seattle—Seattle Opera’s 50th Anniversary season continues with The Consul, a riveting Cold-War thriller coming to McCaw Hall for the first time.
In this tale, an inhuman bureaucracy poses a formidable obstacle for a woman desperate to flee a totalitarian state with her family.
Menotti’s intensely human score won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1950, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical Play and played for more than 100 performances on Broadway.
Seattle Opera’s production, which features several leading alumni of the Seattle Opera Young Artists Program, opens on Saturday, February 22, and runs for seven performances through Friday, March 7.
“The Consul was timely when it was composed, and it still is even today,” says Speight Jenkins, Seattle Opera’s General Director.
“Its success on Broadway and all over the world has made it one of the most important 20th-century operas. In my opinion, it not only is a great work, but it is also clearly Menotti’s masterpiece.”
Marcy Stonikas (Young Artist ‘10, ’11) returns to McCaw Hall as the central character, Magda Sorel, a devoted wife and mother desperately trying to save her family.
The soprano sang the leading roles in Seattle Opera’s productions of Turandot and Fidelio last season. For her portrayal of Ariadne in Ariadne Auf Naxos, The Seattle Times wrote: “The warmth, flexibility, and apparently inexhaustible power of her voice easily rode even the larger orchestral climaxes, and enveloped us all with its loveliness — most definitely, this is a singer with a big future.”
When mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen (Young Artist ’12, ’13) sang in Rigoletto this January 2014, The Seattle Times wrote that she was “a terrific Maddalena,” whose singing was “rich-voiced and opulently sultry.”
Seattle audiences last heard baritone Michael Todd Simpson (Young Artist ’04, ’05) as Marcello in the 2013 La bohème, when The SunBreak wrote, “I could have listened to him sing Marcello all night.” Now, he returns to play Magda’s husband, freedom-fighter John Sorel.
Fresh from her Seattle Opera debut as Erda in this summer’s Ring, mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer joins the cast in the role of John’s mother.
Soprano Vira Slywotzky (Young Artist ’09, ’10), described by The New York Times as a singer “with a naturally large sound with cutting power” will play Magda in the alternate cast.
Tenor Alex Mansoori (Young Artist ’09, ’10) returns to his native Seattle to sing the role of vaudeville magician Nika Magadoff.
Other former Young Artists featured in the performance are Joseph Lattanzi (’12) as Assan; Dana Pundt (’13) as Anna Gomez; and Deborah Nansteel (’13) as the Foreign Woman.
Making their Seattle Opera debuts are baritone Steven LaBrie in the role of the Secret Police Agent, bass Colin Ramsey as Mr. Kofner and mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak (Young Artist ’08, ’09) as Vera Boronel.
Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro is at the podium. Montanaro made his Seattle Opera debut conducting Don Quichotte in 2011, and returned for Attila in 2012 and La bohème in 2013.
Peter Kazaras, whose Seattle Opera directing credits include The Marriage of Figaro, Tristan und Isolde, The Barber of Seville and Madama Butterfly, returns to direct this suspenseful thriller.
Costumes are designed by Melanie Taylor Burgess, with sets by David P. Gordon.
The Consul Production Sponsor: Kreielsheimer Endowment Fund.
Marcy Stonikas’s performances are sponsored by Jim and Gretchen Faulstich.
The National Endowment for the Arts supported this production of The Consul.
Additional costume support from Michael G. Dryfoos and Ilga Jansons.
Additionally, this program is supported, in part, by a grant from ArtsWA (The Washington State Arts Commission).
2013/14 Season Sponsor: Gladys Rubinstein, in memory of Sam Rubinstein.
The Consul premieres Saturday, February 22, and runs through Friday, March 7.
Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619.
Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Ticket prices start at $25.
Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
In English with English captions
Premiere: Philadelphia, Shubert Theatre, March 1, 1950
Seattle Opera Premiere
Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington
7 Performances: February 22, 23 (matinee), 26, 28, March 1, 5, and 7, 2014
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., matinee at 2:00 p.m.
Groups save 15%: 206.676.5588
Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676/800.426.1619
Online orders: seattleopera.org
Magda Sorel: Marcy Stonikas / Vira Slywotzky *
John Sorel: Michael Todd Simpson
Mother: Lucille Beer
The Secretary: Sarah Larsen
Secret Police Agent: Steven LaBrie †
Mr. Kofner: Colin Ramsey †
Foreign Woman: Deborah Nansteel
Anna Gomez: Dana Pundt
Vera Boronel: Margaret Gawrysiak †
Nika Magadoff, magician: Alex Mansoori
Assan: Joseph Lattanzi
Conductor: Carlo Montanaro
Director: Peter Kazaras
Set Designer: David P. Gordon †
Costume Designer: Melanie Taylor Burgess
Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler
English Captions: Jonathan Dean
Scenery and Costumes: Seattle Opera
† Seattle Opera debut
* February 23 and 28 only
Margaret Gawrysiak, Sarah Larsen, Joseph Lattanzi, Alex Mansoori, Deborah Nansteel, Dana Pundt, Michael Todd Simpson, Vira Slywotzky, and Marcy Stonikas are former Seattle Opera Young Artists.
The Consul Production Sponsor: Marcy Stonikas’s performances are sponsored by The James and Sherry Raisbeck Lead Singers Fund
2013/14 Season Sponsor: Gladys Rubinstein, in memory of Sam Rubinstein
Learn more about The Consul!
Seattle Opera offers the following educational opportunities:
Pre-Performance Talks: An hour and a half before every performance, in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall, $7
Free Public Previews:
2/4/2014, 6:30 p.m., West Seattle Library
2/5/2014, 6:30 p.m., Edmonds Library
2/7/2014, 2 p.m., Everett Library
2/11/2014, 2 p.m., Queen Anne Library
2/11/2014, 7 p.m., Third Place Books
2/13/2014, 2 p.m., Green Lake Library
2/15/2014, 2:15 p.m., Kitsap Library
2/16/2014, 2 p.m., Frye Museum
2/18/2014, 12 p.m., Freeland Library
2/18/2014 2 p.m., Coupeville Library
2/19/2014 2 p.m., Ballard Library
2/20/2014 12 p.m., Seattle Central Branch Library
About Seattle Opera
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, Seattle Opera is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. Founded in 1963, the company is recognized internationally for its theatrically compelling and musically accomplished performances, especially the Opera’s interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner.
Since 1975, Seattle Opera has presented 41 cycles of the Ring (three different productions), in addition to acclaimed productions of all the other major operas in the Wagner canon. Seattle Opera has achieved the highest per capita attendance of any major opera company in the United States, and draws operagoers from five continents and 50 states.
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