Photo credit: Clive Barda
The Consul, written by Gian Carlo Menotti in the late 1940’s is a harrowing and scarily modern story brought to life by the Guildhall School of Music.
The story (there will be spoilers ahead) is set somewhere (never told where) in Eastern Europe during the Cold War (although it could be now). John Sorel, a freedom fighter is on the run, his wife Magda goes to a consulate to try and get a visa for herself, her baby and mother in law but they’re making it exceptionally busy and in the end, due to the embassy waits and delays, the entire family dies.
The music for this is great, very tense, strong and memorable. The set is a rotating cube- half showing the family home, the other half the consulate. It’s a brilliant set, detailed and designed well.
The singing is good but for me the best were Lucy Anderson as Magda, Chloe Latchmore as the mother and Bertie Watson as Mr Kofner- all three were strong singers as well as good actors.
To describe The Consul in a word is easy: despair. The situation and every single character at some point throughout this Opera is in despair. The opera is all the more powerful because it is realistic. It doesn’t give us a happy ending that we know wouldn’t happen. This will make you think, feel and hopefully most of all, get angry and want to change things as whilst this was written and set after the Second World War, it is just as relevant if not more so, today.