New Orleans Opera to Present Filmed Adaptation of Menotti’s ‘The Medium’

By Logan Martell

On April 16, 2021, New Orleans Opera will present the premiere of their first production created for film, Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium.”

With stage direction by James Mavel, conductor Robert Lyall leads The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and a cast comprised of Victoria Livengood as Madame Flora, Sarah Jane McMahon as Monica, Carlo Barrera as Toby, Amy Pfrimmer as Mrs. Gobineau, Kathryn Frady as Mrs. Nolan, and Dennis Jesse as Mr. Gobineau.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that ‘The Medium,’ Menotti’s 1946 hour-long melodrama, was inspired by a séance that he had attended,” writes Lyall.

“Thus, he gives us a very detailed portrayal of the real experience, that of couples and individuals desperate to connect with deceased relatives, especially their young children. As the audience, we are invited to experience the ritual of conjuring that is so very real to these individuals. From the point of view of “dramatic irony,” early in the opera we are made very aware that this is all a fraud on the part of Madame Flora. But it is fascinating to see the emotional depths to which individuals in a séance pursue the fantasy of actually communicating with deceased loved ones. During the course of her séance, Madame Flora herself has a bizarre encounter with the supernatural that completely shocks her and alters her prophecies and truthfulness in this fascinating psycho-drama with its interesting twists and turns.”

Filmed by Esplanade Studios on location at the H. Lloyd Hawkins, Jr. Scenic Studio, the production will be available for purchase and viewing until May 15.