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Ensemble

A Sumptuous Display

Verdi's 'Don Carlo' at LA Opera,
appreciated by MARIA NOCKIN

 

The original French libretto for Verdi's opera Don Carlos, written by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, was based on Friedrich Schiller's 1737 play, Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien, and on Eugène Cormon's 1846 opus, Philippe II, Roi d'Espagne. The opera was first performed on 11 March 1867 in Paris. Later, it was translated into Italian by Achille de Lausières and Angelo Zanardini. In 1872, Verdi revised the piece and the Italian version, Don Carlo was first seen on 10 January 1884 at La Scala in Milan.

Verdi had three favorite playwrights. He based the operas Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff on William Shakespeare's plays. Victor Hugo's plays Hernani and Le roi s'amuse were the models for the composer's Ernani and Rigoletto. Although the works of Friedrich Schiller were harder to scale down to operatic proportions, Verdi utilized them for Giovanna d'Arco, I Masnadieri, Luisa Miller, Don Carlo and a part of La Forza del Destino.

Dolora Zajick as Princess Eboli and Lauren McNeese as Tebaldo in the LA Opera production of Verdi's 'Don Carlo'. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard
Dolora Zajick as Princess Eboli and Lauren McNeese as Tebaldo in the LA Opera production of Verdi's 'Don Carlo'. Photo © 2006 Robert Millard

Verdi's Don Carlo contains a rather romanticized version of history, but it tells a gripping tale. On 16 September 2006, Los Angeles Opera presented a modern, realistic production by Ian Judge. He told the story in an easily understandable manner with only an occasional excess of motion. The well constructed and functional scenery was designed by John Gunter.

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Copyright © 25 September 2006 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA

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