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Princess Eboli (Luciana d'Intino) features with equal malignity in Schiller. She is an Amneris in waiting, one of Verdi's most powerful female roles. But in a 'terzettino dialogato' she makes coquettish enquiry about France and its latest fashions, while the Rodrigo of Paolo Coni playfully flatters her, and Daniela Dessì's Elizabeth reads in fearful agitation a note from Carlo [listen -- 'Che mai si fa nel suol francese' (Act 1 Scene 2), DVD 1 chapter 13, 0:00-1:00]. Eboli is convinced that it is she who has inspired the devotion of Carlo; a lengthy nighttime garden scene reveals the unpalatable truth, and now she denounces Carlo with the jealous rage of a termagant [listen -- 'Trema per te, falso figliuolo' (Act 2 Scene 1), DVD 1 chapter 29, 0:00-1:15].

Luciana D'Intino as Princess Eboli in Act 2 scene 1. DVD screenshot © 1994 RAI/EMI Records Ltd
Luciana D'Intino as Princess Eboli in Act 2 scene 1. DVD screenshot © 1994 RAI/EMI Records Ltd

Philip's political task on the world stage, bequeathed him by his father the emperor Charles V, was indeed impossible. Sternly convinced of his essential recitude, he was implacable against the Dutch Protestants, so that this version of Act 2 ends with the vain pleas of Flemish deputies against the ritual background of a heretical bonfire [watch -- 'O Ciel! Tu! Rodrigo! ... Spuntato è il dì d'esultanza' (Act 2 Scene 2), DVD 1 chapter 37, 0:01-1:29]. In private, too, the lonely Philip was much exercised by the apparent alienation of his most recent Queen, and Samuel Ramey does full justice to one of Verdi's most moving inspirations [listen -- 'Ella giammai m'amò!' (Act 3 Scene 1), DVD 2 chapter 1, 2:43-3:56]. It is then he consults the blind, nonagenarian Inquisitor of Alexander Anisimov how best to address his public and private concerns [listen -- 'Il Grand'Inquisitor!' (Act 3 Scene 1), DVD 2 chapter 3, 0:09-1:10].

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Copyright © 9 October 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK


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