Not as good as the 1951 film but a very good performance still
While Amahl and the Night Visitors is the opera that immediately springs to mind when talking about Gian-Carlo Menotti, The Medium is one that deserves to be performed more than it is(likewise with The Consul). This 1977 production is very good, if not as good as the outstanding 1951 film, which was visually striking, had Marie Powers' unforgettable Madame Flora and Menotti also directing and writing it. The look of the production looks fine, nothing fancy but traditional and appealingly rustic while the camera work is simple without being static. The staging is true to the storytelling, with everything relevant, and is interesting, if not as dramatic or as moving as the 1951 film. The film also had a psychological approach that was genuinely nightmarish, this is a TV production and couldn't convey that as well, but Madame Flora's torment is still convincing because Maureen Forrester's acting is so good. The music is beautiful, especially Monica's lullaby The Black Swan, and almost reminiscent of early Stravinsky, and Menotti's lyric writing is still vivid and poetic and make their impact because of the clear diction. The orchestra play beautifully and the conducting does a good job keeping the story and music moving while letting the drama speak for itself. Maureen Forrester is fabulous, her contralto voice is rich and emotive and her acting has much passion and poignancy. Shauna Farrell is charming and sympathetic and has the most beautiful voice of the cast, her vocal production is clear as a bell, even in the awkward intervals in the middle of The Black Swan, and you can understand every word she sings. Gino Quillico, before he went on to sing roles like Figaro and Dandini, is suitably noble and sings sonorously. Toby evokes great empathy even when not saying or singing a word. All in all, very good but not outstanding like the film was. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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