Composer: Gian Carlo Menotti
Composer Bio: Gian Carlo Menotti was born on 7 July 1911, in Cadegliano, Italy. At the age of 7, under the guidance of his mother, he began to compose songs, and four years later he wrote the words and music of his first opera, The Death of Pierrot. In 1923 he began his formal musical training at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan. Following the death of his father, his mother took him to the United States, where he was enrolled at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music. There he completed his musical studies, working in composition under Rosario Scalero.

His first mature work, the one-act opera buffa, Amelia Goes to the Ball, was premiered in 1937, a success that led to a commission from the National Broadcasting Company to write an opera especially for radio, The Old Maid and the Thief, the first such commission ever given. His first ballet, Sebastian, followed in 1944, and for this he wrote the scenario as well as the score. After the premiere of his Piano Concerto in 1945, Menotti returned to opera with The Medium, shortly joined by The Telephone, both enjoying international success.

The Consul, Menotti's first full-length work, won the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle award as the best musical play of the year in 1954. By far Menotti's best-known work is the Christmas classic Amahl and the Night Visitors, composed for NBC-TV in 1951. This beloved opera celebrated the 50th anniversary of its premiere in 2001, and continues to receive hundreds of performances annually.

Menotti writes the text to all his operas, the original language being English in every case, with the exception of Amelia Goes to the Ball, The Island God, and The Last Savage, which were first set to Italian words. Recent operas include The Singing Child (1993) and Goya (1986), written for Plácido Domingo and given its premiere by The Washington Opera. In the summer of 2004 Domingo reprised the role at Vienna's Theater an der Wien. Menotti's most recent vocal works are Jacob's Prayer (1997), a commission from the American Choral Directors Association, Gloria, written as part of a composite Mass celebrating the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize, For the Death of Orpheus, with a premiere by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra led by Robert Shaw in November 1990, and Llama de Amor Viva, premiered in April 1991. A trio for the Verdehr Trio received its world premiere at the Spoleto Festival on Menotti's 85th birthday in July 1996.

In addition to the numerous operatic works, Menotti has enriched the artistic world with ballets, including Errand into the Maze (in the 2005 repertory of the Martha Graham Dance Company), and The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore; Pastorale for Piano and Strings (1934); Poemetti, a suite of piano pieces for children (1937); The Hero (1952), a song on a text by Robert Horan; and Canti della Lontananza, a cycle of seven songs (1967). He also wrote the libretti to Samuel Barber's operas Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge.

1958 saw the opening of Menotti's own festival, the Festival of Two Worlds, in Spoleto, Italy. Devoted to the cultural collaboration of Europe and America in a program embracing all the arts, the Spoleto Festival has gone on to be one of the most popular festivals in Europe. The festival literally became "of two worlds" in 1977 with the founding of Spoleto USA in Charleston, South Carolina, which he led until 1993 when he became Director of the Rome Opera. Well into his 90s he continued to direct opera at Spoleto and elsewhere. His 1996 Spoleto production of Amahl was filmed for commercial release. During the 2005-06 season The Consul will be produced at Teatro Regio in Italy; performances in the 2004-05 season included productions at the Arizona Opera and in Zurich, Switzerland.

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, inaugurating worldwide tributes to the composer in honor of his 80th birthday. His music has been published by G. Schirmer since 1946.
Librettist: Gian Carlo Menotti
Other Artistic Personnel: Baayark Lee (choreographer)
Pasquale Grossi (designer)
Gian Carlo Menotti (director)
Rafael Frübeck de Burgos (conductor)
Original Cast: Plácido Domingo (Goya)
Victoria Vergara (Duchess of Alba)
Karen Huffstodt (Queen of Spain)
Howard Bender (Prime Minister Godoy)
Louis Otey (Martin)
Suzanna Guzmán (Leocadia)
Premiere Date: November 15, 1986
Producing Company: Washington National Opera
Description: ACT I
Scene 1: A crowd of gypsies, beggars, prostitutes and toreros sings and dances in a tavern on the outskirts of Madrid. Among the revelers is the young painter Francisco Goya, freshly arrived in Madrid from the country. Suddenly a mysterious, discreetly veiled woman enters. Goya, attracted to the woman, boldly introduces himself as Spain's greatest painter and asks if she would pose for him. Amused by Goya's youthful arrogance, she accepts. She identifies herself as a maid in the Alba palace, and invites him to come tomorrow afternoon to paint. Outside the tavern door, Goya watches in horror as Inquisition monks lead a group of accused heretics to trial.

Scene 2: Goya is led to the drawing room of the Alba palace and waits for his model. The doors of the drawing room are suddenly thrown open and the supposed "maid" — who in reality is the Duchess of Alba — enters. Dona Cayetana (the Duchess of Alba) and her entourage laugh at the trick that has been played on Goya. Goya slowly regains his self-assurance and begins to paint her after they are left alone. Though Cayetana is fascinated by her protegé, she tires of posing and dares Goya to paint the very skin of her face. Half in jest and half seriously Goya approaches her and begins to caress her features with his brushes. As he reaches her mouth, he lets the brushes fall and kisses her passionately.

The Queen Maria Luisa is angry that the Duchess' nightly escapades, insolent manners and new lover have created a scandal. The Queen demands that Prime Minister Godoy get rid of the Duchess, and desires Goya for herself. Godoy and the ineffectual Charles IV try to calm her, telling her that Goya will be presented at the daily reception. Goya, The Duchess and other guests arrive at the reception. After bowing slightly to the Queen, the Duchess ushers in her ladies-in-waiting, who are wearing identical copies of the Queen's own dress. Unable to contain her rage, the Queen has to be led away from the scandalized, but amused court. Cayetana is jubilant, but Godoy chastises her. Goya takes her aside and berates her, but the Duchess strikes back, accusing Goya of being an opportunist and a coward. She tells him that their affair is over. Goya, alone and dismayed, is approached by Charles IV. The King intends to promote him to court painter but warns Goya that he must sever his relationship with the Duchess. As the King continues to talk, Goya begins to lose his hearing, and the room becomes silent. As a single high, ringing note pierces Goya's ears, he cries out in anguish. "Cayetana, Cayetana, even your voice is taken from me," Goya cries, collapsing in despair.

Scene 1: Cayetana, stricken by a mysterious illness, is about to die. Sitting on an armchair and still wearing her famous jewels, she begs Martin Zapater to fetch Goya so that she may give him her favorite ring. The Queen visits the Duchess tells her that she is receiving her just punishment. Cayetana replies that she knows who has poisoned her, and declares that her entire fortune will be left to her servants and adopted child. After Cayetana dies, the Queen takes the diamond necklace and ring from the Duchess' body. She calls in her attendants and announces that the Duchess has kindly left her jewels to her. Goya rushes into the room and notices the Queen wearing Cayetana's ring. Left alone, he curses himself for failing to save Cayetana.

Scene 2: In the painter's studio, many years later, Goya is now both deaf and blind in his final hours. As he fitfully sleeps in his armchair, Goya is haunted by a series of visions. He is tormented by his lack of courage during the war and by his sense of guilt at having abandoned his wife, Pepa. He calls for help and the beautiful Cayetana appears to him. She tells him that he must not feel guilty. With his brush, she says, he has fought more courageously than any other soldier; he has loved more deeply and more passionately than any lover; he has been more compassionate than any priest. He surely deserves the heavenly peace that death will now bring to him.
Character List (Major): Goya (t)
Duchess of Alba (mz)
Queen Maria Luisa (s)
Godoy (bar)
Martín Zapater (bar)
King Charles IV (t)
Character List (Minor): Tavern Singer
Bit Parts: A Maid, to the Duchess
The Innkeeper
A Black-Boy (mute)
The French Ambassador (mute)
Two Ladies in Waiting (mute)
Don Basilio (mute)
Length: 01:50
Total Acts: 3
Chorus: Chorus
Orchestration: 2 fl + pic, 2 ob + ca, 2 cl + bcl, 2 bsn - 4 hrn, 3 tpt, 1 tbn - timp, perc - pf, hp - str; 2 offstage tpt
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address: pm@schirmer.com
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site: http://www.schirmer.com/default.aspx?TabId=2420&St
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