Don Carlos, Verdi

In view of the outstanding position that Paris was able to claim for itself in the field of music in the 19th century, Verdi attached great importance to his being commissioned to write an opera for the 1867 World Exhibition. At the centre of the events taking place in the second half of the 16th century – Schiller’s “Dramatic Poem” of the same name was used as a model – is the Spanish Crown Prince Carlos. He has an undying love for Elizabeth of Valois, who is destined to be his wife since childhood, before his widowed father Philip II claims her for himself. This private conflict is exacerbated by a political one: Carlos’ demands for the regency of the rebellious Dutch provinces – a fatal situation against the backdrop of the inquisition processes and the power of the Grand Inquisitor. With Don Carlos, Verdi made a significant contribution to the genre of the Grand Opéra, in which private desire for happiness is caught in between the fronts of political and social power struggles. Various difficulties during the rehearsal led to the composer being forced to write numerous revisions against his will before the work had its premiere on 10 March 1867. The current production was released in 2004 under the direction of Bertrand de Billy, who returns to the State Opera for this revival to conduct. The original version, which he meticulously reconstructed, also includes passages that Verdi had had to take out in 1867. Director Peter Konwitschny weaves a network of relationships of breathtaking density between the characters. A humorous pantomimic interlude to the ballet music in the third act increases the height of the tragedy in which Konwitschny brings out a utopian moment: He interprets the end of the opera as the composer’s veto against the victory of the authorities hostile to love and life and annuls the realistic coordinates of the plot in favour of Carlos and Elisabeth’s salvation. Assuming the title role, Jonas Kaufmann will interpret a Verdi part for the first time at the Vienna State Opera, as will Ildar Abdrazakov as Philippe II. The house debuts of Malin Byström as Elisabeth and Eve-Maud Hubeaux as Eboli are also eagerly awaited. | Kontakt | Privacy | Terms