Opera Theatre

UCO Opera’s THE CONSUL Is a Haunting Tale of Caution

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BWW Review: UCO Opera's THE CONSUL Is a Haunting Tale of Caution

UCO presents the moving, dramatic opera The Consul. The Consul ran on Broadway in 1950, and tells a story that is relevant even today. Written by Gian Carlo Menotti, The Consul is a beautiful and haunting opera. Directed by Rob Glaubitz, the incredible cast of performers tells the story of one family trying to escape and oppressive regime. It’s seemingly based on Nazi Germany, but the story is seen every night on the news in 2022. It’s powerfully relevant to the times and a reminder of the foreign conflicts that aren’t that far away from home.

Gilda Parlatto Lire is brilliant and heart-wrenching as Magda Sorel, a wife and mother who is desperate to help her family. The performance required of her is nothing short of Olympic, and she pulls it off without missing a breath. Magda’s husband John is portrayed remarkably by Brynden Robinson. Robinson shows unmatched emotional and vocal range. The iconic, inimitable Barbara Fox DeMaio portrays The Mother. Her solo moments leave the audience shaken to the core. Her performance is powerful and memorable.

Jacob Velders is striking and chilling as the Secret Police Agent. Savannah Gordon is cool and compelling as The Secretary. Hayden Turner is relatable as Mister Kofner. Khalil Cabrera-Tosado is distinctive as Nika, and Calliope Staudt is moving as Anna. Amy Coplen is strong as Vera, and Joshua Buchanan is sympathetic as Assan. Teng Lio and Joshua Buchanan portray the Plainclothesmen and Sarah Hunsucker is the Voice on the Record. Xinyu Pan portrays the Foreign Woman.

There simply is no weak link in this cast. They perform an unforgiving style of performance with grace and ease. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see operatic performance alive and well in Oklahoma City. It’s a rare art form, but it’s special and needs to be witnessed live and in person by everyone. What a gift this show is, and the cast gives their all and then some.

The orchestra is conducted by Douglas Newell and includes Maria Marcos as Concertmaster. Maria Marcos, Jane Lee, Madeline Bradley, and Elaine Bastos are First Violin. Second Violin is Chazlen Rook, Meagan McCrary, and Yian Lu. James Nimmo and Orlando Ramirez are on Viola. Sam Powell and Michelle Whitaker are on Violoncello. Rei Wang is on Contrabass, Emily Butterfield is on flute, and Gerald Warlick is on oboe. Dillan Francis is on clarinet and Lori Wooden is on bassoon. Kate Nelson and Colton Privette are on horn. Evelyn Talbot and David Marvel are on trumpet. Nathan Walyer is on trombone, Alex McDaniel is on percussion, and Megan Clewell is on piano. This excellent orchestra performs the score beautifully, creating an emotional and intense piece of opera.

The Consul is a cautionary tale, and it’s pointedly without a fairytale ending. The most frightening moment occurs when the audience realizes that this unseen, uncaring foe that threatens this family on all sides is not so unknown to us. In reality, that foe is us. When we turn our backs to refugees and victims of conflicts, we turn our backs on innocent families; wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and children. It’s truly a wakeup call. The outcome doesn’t have to be this way. This performance is powerful and the cast of UCO students and faculty carry it and deliver the message with weight and reverence.

For more information on upcoming opera, theatre, dance, and music performances, visit ucocfad.edu.

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