The Medium

GIAN CARLO-MENOTT

Music and Libretto

 

2 Acts
Sung in English Subtitles in Portuguese
Length: 1h20

 

Diogo Costa, Musical Direction
Sandra Faleiro, Stage Direction
Roberta Azevedo Gomes, Set Designer
Miss Suzie, Costumes
Gi Carvalho, Light Design
Ricardo Costa e Jorge Serigado, Sound Design
Joana Campelo, Staging Assistent
Vitor Rita Vilhena, Assistent of scenography execution

 

Cast
Cátia Moreso, Madama 
Flora Cecília Rodrigues, Monica 
Benjamim Barroso, Toby
Carla Simões, Mrs Gobineau
Tiago Amado Gomes, Mr Gobineau 
Ana Rita Coelho, Mrs Nolan

 

Ensemble MPMP
Production Ópera do Castelo

 

Premiere 28 and 29 AUG, Operafest Lisboa 2021

 

“The Medium” by Gian-Carlo Menotti

One of the most relevant operas by Gian-Carlo Menotti (1946), promising a night “out of this world”.
With Libretto by the composer and a plot filled up with suspense, this opera displays an imposter medium, who deceives vulnerable families who have lost their children. Madame Flora is a disturbed cruel woman. She has her scheme working well, helped by her daughter Monica and her servant Toby, making good money. What if she is caught in her own web? Un unpredicted incident dives Madame Flora in suspicion and nothing will be the same again.

 

Inspired by a spirit session the composer attended with friends in 1936, in the outskirts of Vienna, this opera questions the limits between reality and supranatural world, and between truth and delusion.

 

"A Fantastic Tale of Terror where all characters are trapped in many different places"

 

Menotti introduces us The Medium, as the name suggests, a work about a medium (Madame Flora or Baba), and supernatural events that are confused with reality, or perhaps about how the conviction of reality can be as close as the conviction of supernatural.

 

Madame Flora (the medium) lives between these two worlds: the reality that she does not understand and the supernatural that she does not believe.

 

She grew up witnessing terrible things throughout her life, she drinks (maybe to forget) and becomes villain and executioner of herself, when she is haunted by her ghosts, who drive her to madness and to a tragic end.

 

This false psychic controls her reality with the help of two innocent accomplices: Monica, the daughter, who dreams and flees to a fantasy world to take refuge from everyday life, with an alcoholic mother, who mistreats and cheats everybody, and Toby, the mute boy, who Madame Flora rescued from the streets of Budapest, her slave and in love with Monica.

 

And this is where Madame Flora customers appear: Mrs. and Mr. Gobineau and Mrs. Nolan. The tragic reality of these characters is manipulated by this woman who takes advantage of suffering parents who have lost their children. These parents go to seances to make contact with their dead children and believe in the hoax created by Madame Flora.

 

This is how all characters that make up The Medium are trapped in their own reality. Enslaved by their own beliefs they find an escape from reality because the truth is too cruel to be handled. The Medium tells us about Death and Life and how deeply connected they are. Menotti’s music accompanies this plot in the contrast between the dreamy lyricism and the tragic dystopia, between the thin line that separates the truth from the lie, the fantasy from reality and love from hatred.

 

Sandra Faleiro