This was a nice and totally unexpected free concert. I was just on my way back home from BBC Singers Matthaus passion when I just came across this one at the Barbican. It was the first time I listened to Elgar Piano quintet and I like the work. It was quite interesting to contrast it with Elgar symphonic writing: a lot of similarities and a lot of differences. Melodic lines were much more naked without the dense orchestral textures.
It’s easy to understand why Menotti’s The Consul won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950: it combines all the elements that make an opera great. Timothy Redmond did a magnificent work bringing the atmospheric oppression contained in the score and the few relaxing moments. Stephen Medcalf and Simon Corder production was very high class. A spinning stage flipping from Sorel’s home to the consulate office while keeping all the singers on stage in a sort of waiting room was a very clever idea.