'The Consul' was a phenomenally successfull opera dealing with 20th century issues. It is set in a totalitarian state in which John Sorel is a political dissident, fighting for a democratic government. The secret police force him to leave the country and Magda, his wife, must obtain a visa to leave the country and join him. Insurmountable bureaucracy causes frustrating delays at the consulate. During the ensuing months, Magda's baby and mother-in-law die and she learns that her husband is returning to take Magda with him. Magda, knowing that her husband will be captured if he returns, writes a note to him stating that she is going to kill herself so he does not need to die. As she commits suicide by gas inhalation in her home, John enters the consulate and is apprehended by the police. The Libretto (by Menotti himself) is in English only.