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Hailed by the New York Times as “an opera of eloquence, momentousness, and intensity of expression... written from the heart,” The Consul is an essential modern opera. Starring Patricia Racette in her role debut as Magda, this production of Consul will be a new experience for all of a beloved opera.
Famed soprano Patricia Racette returns to COT (La Voix Humaine). Her work has been featured around the world, including frequent starring turns at the Metropolitan Opera and her celebrated album Diva on Detour.
With her family in danger and her husband on the run from the secret police, Magda seeks a visa to flee to safety. As the walls begin to close around her, she desperately begs an audience of the consul before its too late.
The Consul is Gian Carlo Menotti's first full-length opera, written in response to the plight of refugees he met after World War II. It premiered March 1, 1950, in Philadelphia, starring international opera star Patricia Neway in a cast that included other notable names like Gloria Lane, Andrew McKinley, and Marie Powers. Not long afterward, it transferred to New York, where it ran successfully for eight months. It would go on to play internationally at the Cambridge Theatre and then La Scala in 1951.
Gian Carlo Menotti was born in Cadegliano, Italy in July of 1911. With his mother’s guidance, he began composing music at the age of 7. By the age of 11, he had written the words and music of The Death of Pierrot, his first opera. In 1923, he enrolled at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan before leaving Europe after his father’s death. He completed his formal musical studies at the Curtist Institute of Music in Philadelphia, under the tutelage of fellow Italian composer Rosario Scalero.
The Consul is Menotti’s first full-length work. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1950, and the Drama Critics Circle award in 1954.
His other operas include Goya (1986), The Hero (1976), Martin’s Lie (1964), The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954), The Medium (1946, at COT in 1992), and many more. He is perhaps most notable for Amahl and the Night Visitors, which he wrote for NBC in 1951 and is now a widely performed piece of opera repertoire.
Menotti was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in 1984, and won Musician of the Year from Musical America in 1991.
In 1984 Menotti was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in the arts. He was chosen the 1991 "Musician of the Year" by Musical America. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 95.
Mr. Mitisek has been the General Director of Chicago Opera Theater since June of 2012. He has also been Artistic and General Director of Long Beach Opera (LBO) since 2003. A native of Austria, he served as Artistic and music Director of the Wiener Operntheater from 1990 – 1997, the foremost contemporary opera company in Austria. Mr. Mitisek has conducted at the Wiener Volksoper, the Komische Oper in Berlin, the festival “Wien Modern”, the Wiener Konzerthaus and Musikverein, and others. He is also sought after as a guest conductor in North America, leading productions for the Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Vancouver Ope4ra, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, amongst other. His work as director and designer for site-specific productions in parking garages, swimming pools, night clubs, and warehouses has become a successful hall mark of his work with LBO, and his first such production with COT, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, was critically and publicly acclaimed. He is dedicated to attracting new audiences to COT by exploring unorthodox venues and presenting new and rare works (a key attribute of his leadership at LBO). Mitisek has been named by Opera News as one of the 25 people that will be a major force in the field of opera in the coming decade. Mitisek was featured as a LA Tastemaker by LA Times Magazine in 2009, Arts Leader of the Year by the Long Beach Arts Council in 2009, and was highlighted as one of the “2012 People” by LA Weekly. Recent COT credits include: conductor, Thérèse Raquin; conductor, stage director and production designer, Maria de Buenos Aires; director and production designer, Orpheus and Euridice, La Voix Humaine & Gianni Schicchi; conductor, The Fall of the House of Usher.
Kristof Van Grysperre, a native of Belgium, has an international career as a pianist, chamber musician, vocal coach, and as a conductor. The Orange County Register hailed him as “gifted and stylistically impeccable” and described him as a conductor “with pugilistic power and sensitivity.”
Van Grysperre recently made his debut at New York City Opera, conducting Fallujah. At Long Beach Opera he conducted several critically-acclaimed productions such as Candide, La Voix Humaine, Hydrogen Jukebox and the world premiere of Fallujah, which was live broadcasted by KCET. As artistic director of Angels Vocal Art he conducted La Traviata, Anya17 and a Gran Gala di Verdi at the 2015 and 2016 summer festivals.
Over the past decade Van Grysperre built a repertoire of over fifty operas conducting performances for Opera Pacific, Baltimore Opera Studio, Intimate Opera Company, SongFest, USC Opera and Cal State LA.
As a vocal coach, Van Grysperre was engaged by the Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Program, the Aspen Opera Center and the Bakersfield Symphony. He established flourishing studios in Pasadena and Long Beach. As a pianist Van Grysperre collaborated with leading instrumentalists and singers, such as Angela Meade, Philip Webb, Juliana Gondek, Maria Newman, Suzan Hanson and Susan Mohini Kane. He recorded for the René Gailly and Phaedra labels, the Flemish and Suisse Radio and Television and K-Mozart. Van Grysperre taught at the California Conducting Workshop, SongFest and the University of Southern California, where he also served as acting music director of the USC Thornton Opera.
Van Grysperre has been honored with numerous awards and fellowships, including the prestigious Fulbright Grant. At the USC Thornton School of Music, he completed a Doctorate and two Master of Music degrees, all with highest honors, with major fields in keyboard collaborative arts and orchestral conducting. He also studied at the Conservatories of Liège and Ghent (Belgium) where he obtained Concert Diplomas for both piano and chamber music.
Known as one of the great singing actresses of our time, soprano Patricia Racette continues to share her artistry with audiences around the world. Notes the Huffington Post, “In this moment, Patricia Racette commands the stage with an authority that is reminiscent of Tebaldi and Callas… Racette suspends time and transports the witness to rare heights of lyrical enchantment.”
Her 2016-17 season ignites with a triple run of the title role of Salome for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera. She reprises the femme fatale for a semi-staged version of Salome with Minnesota Orchestra in the summer of 2017. Other engagements include her appearances at the Met in a role debut as Roxane in Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Roberto Alagna as well as gala concerts in Vail, Colorado and Fort Myers, Florida featuring her celebrated album, Diva on Detour, an intimate evening of songs from Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Édith Piaf which is available for purchase and digital download from all fine music sources. Patricia also returns to San Francisco Conservatory in January of 2017 to present the pilot program of her intensive seminar “Integrative Artistry” following her command performance master classes last season.
In The Met: Live in HD, her performances of Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and Peter Grimes have been seen in HD in movie theaters across the globe, with her portrayal of Madama Butterfly remaining one of the most successful broadcasts in the history of the series. Ms. Racette is also known for her vibrant role as host for many other HD transmissions for the series. Additionally, she continues to be sought after for master classes and workshops to foster artistry in the next generation of classical singers.
She continues to appear regularly in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera. Internationally, Ms. Racette has appeared at the Royal Opera House, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, the English National Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Opera di Genova, Bayerische Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, and the Saito Kinen Festival.
On the concert platform, Ms Racette has appeared with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dusseldorfer Philharmoniker, and the Cologne Philharmonic, the latter with whom she recorded Zemlinsky’s Der Traumgörge under the baton of James Conlon.
A native of New Hampshire, Ms. Racette earned her Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University before joining The Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera. Among her honors are the Richard Tucker Award, the Marian Anderson Award, Merola Distinguished Alumni Award, and the prestigious Opera News Award in 2010.