Written as a way to reinsert himself back into the 19th century Paris opera scene after a few ‘bad’ experiences, Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo highlights the all-too-human struggles between love and duty, and faith and power.
First performed in March 1867 at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, this opera in four acts is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Based on the life of the tragic and mentally unstable 16th century prince Carlo, Prince of Asturias, Don Carlo is Verdi’s longest opera, and is filled with themes of intrigue and regret.
Three performances of the Italian version of Don Carlo by the Opéra de Monte-Carlo are scheduled in Monaco for the end of this month. They will be directed by the revered Davide Livermore, with music from the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra as conducted by Massimo Zanetti. Don Carlo will be played by tenor Sergey Skorokhodov, who is replacing Vittorio Grigolo, Phillip II by Ildar Abdrazokov, and Elisabeth of Valois by Joyce el-Khoury.
The story centres around Carlo, the eldest son of the Spanish King Phillip II. The young prince was betrothed to French King Henri II’s daughter, Elisabeth of Valois, but politics interfered in the match. In the end, the beautiful princess ended up marrying Carlo’s father, leaving both young people heartbroken.
With everyone under the watchful eye of the Grand Inquisitor, tension and paranoia run rampant, leading the king to suspect his wife of infidelity with Carlo, egged on by the jealous Eboli, who loves Carlo and sets the new queen up as an adulteress.
Carlo, for his part, wants to run from his feelings and takes up the cause of a close friend in Flanders, but his father has other ideas. Conflict ensues, threats are brandished and Carlo’s life is on the line.
Eboli, in a fit of regret when she hears of Carlo’s impending death, confesses to Elisabeth it was she who fanned the embers of rumour. She is banished, but still tries to save Carlo, with success. His happiness is short lived, however, as more tragedy soon strikes and takes away his only reason to live.
VERDI IN MONACO
The Opéra de Monte-Carlo will be performing this incredible story on 22nd and 24th November at 8pm, and at 3pm on 26th November. All performances will take place at the Grimaldi Forum.
For tickets and more information, click here.
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Photo of one of the incredible sets by Gioforma and Dwok.
This article was originally published on 8th November and edited and republished on 17th November.