Event—Public Programming

Chicago Opera Theater Presents: Beyond Menotti's "The Consul"


Refugee Orchestra Project

Join the Newberry Library and Chicago Opera Theater for a performance and panel, in advance of Chicago Opera Theater’s upcoming production of The Consul, Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1950 opera about political refugees. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the true stories that intersect with Menotti’s inspirations and story. Light refreshments and a performance by a quartet from the Refugee Orchestra Project will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Consul director Andreas Mitisek and Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya.

Explore related Newberry materials with our Collection Quick Guide on Immigration.


  • Welcome from the Newberry and COT
  • Yeraz ("The Dream") by Alan Hovhaness
  • Vocalise by Sergey Rachmaninoff
  • "Sola, perduta, abbandonata" from Manon Lescaut, by Giacomo Puccini
  • "O patria mia" from Aida, by Giuseppe Verdi
  • "Ya Ghazali," traditional Syrian song
  • Irving Berlin Medley

Panel Discussion: The History and Future of Immigration and Refugees in Chicago


  • Lubana Al Quntar, soprano, is a gifted singer of both opera and traditional Arabic song. She was granted the title of First Syrian Opera Singer and has appeared worldwide as a soloist. Her rare vocal ability enables her to sing a wide range of repertoire from popular, classical, and traditional Arabic songs to classical opera as a dramatic coloratura. Also a teacher, she headed the Department of Opera Singing and launched the Department of Classical Arabic Singing at the Syrian National Conservatory. She came to the United States in 2012, and has since performed in numerous venues, including the Kennedy Center.
  • Maria Gorkun, violin. Ukrainian violinist Mariia Gorkun has performed all over Europe, in the US, and Asia and Australia, both before and since earning her Master's degree at Longy School of Music in Boston, where she studied with Mark Lakirovich and Dana Maiben, among others. She earned her first Master's degree in Kiev Ukraine, at the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy. Ms. Gorkun won a job at the National Opera of Ukraine, and played there for a number of years. Since coming to the US to pursue another passion, the making of bows for violins and other instruments, Ms. Gorkun has been very active as a soloist and concertmaster in a number of venues, including an avant-garde jazz ensemble. She works as a bowmaker for a well known shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This concert continues her fruitful collaboration with Lidiya Yankovskaya who engaged Mariia as the concertmaster of her Refugee Orchestra Project for the past two years.
  • Andreas Mitisek, a native of Vienna, served as Artistic and General Director of the Chicago Opera Theater from 2012-2017 and is currently in the same position at Long Beach Opera (since 2003). He has been a conductor, stage director and designer of over 100 productions throughout the world, including COT’s upcoming The Consul.
  • Lidiya Yankovskaya, piano, is a Russian-born symphonic and opera conductor. Recently named Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, this season she also completes her tenure as Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, and is a resident artist at National Sawdust with the Refugee Orchestra Project. She has guest conducted with Wolftrap Opera, Flagstaff Symphony, Beth Morrison Projects, American Lyric Theater, Opera Saratoga, Brookline Symphony, and Stamford Symphony.

Cosponsored with Chicago Opera Theater.

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