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Gertrude Opera premieres a new production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul this May. First opening on Broadway in 1950, Menotti’s emotive, Pulitzer Prize winning political opera about dehumanising repression by heartless bureaucracies, highlights the plight of people forced to flee their country. With the world currently experiencing the highest levels of human displacement on record, now more than ever this story needs to be told.Set in an unnamed totalitarian country, Menotti always refused to associate the work with a specific political system. His portrait of Magda Sorel — fleeing from a police state but thwarted by the consulate of the country that supposedly offers asylum — is as critical of the humanitarian failures of western democracies as that of the regime she seeks to escape.The production features set design by one of Australia’s most-revered architects and theatre designers, the late Peter Corrigan. Menotti conceived The Consul as a chamber opera to be performed in small theatres. Corrigan’s sparse set immerses the audience in a world of waiting, threats, paperwork and questions.