Don Carlo
Don Carlo

The apex of Verdi’s musical inspiration, the sombre Don Carlo describes the devastated world of the victims of power in the days of the Spanish Inquisition. Riots, the burning of heretics at the stake and liberal rebellions provide the backdrop to painful love stories frustrated by the state. Spain’s Infante is in love with his step-mother, but ...

The apex of Verdi’s musical inspiration, the sombre Don Carlo describes the devastated world of the victims of power in the days of the Spanish Inquisition. Riots, the burning of heretics at the stake and liberal rebellions provide the backdrop to painful love stories frustrated by the state. Spain’s Infante is in love with his step-mother, but is desired by his father’s lover. The power of the throne of Philip II falls victim to the altar: in fact the Great Inquisitor obtains the sacrifice of the son and his most loyal friend, Posa. 

The Italian version from 1884 will be staged (it being the most concise of the five that are known) which Verdi oversaw for La Scala. It is the version in which, in the finale, the ghost of Carlo V calls his nephew to him in the tomb, to keep him out of the reach of the Friars of the Holy Office. 

Stéphane Braunschweig’s performance will be staged. Its inaugural evening was in 2008 and it was warmly applauded in Japan. The staging is essential, clean-cut, geometric and harsh, often cutting, and basically indifferent to the commonly-held conception of dark yet sun-soaked Spain. Filippo II will be played by René Pape and his wife Elisabeth by Martina Serafin.

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