Broadcasts by The Metropolitan Opera continue on Classical 90.5 at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday, March 9th, with a performance of Don Carlo by Giuseppe Verdi, originally set to a French language libretto by Camille du Locle and Joseph Méry. The Italian libretto, which will be performed in this Metropolitan Opera production, is by Achille de Lauzières and Angelo Zanardini, with later revisions by the composer and Antonio Ghislanzoni. The performance will run approximately four hours and forty minutes.
The story of Verdi's Don Carlo takes place against the backdrop of the Spanish Inquisition, one of history's cruelties committed in the name of religion. Over the Inquisition's span of 350 years, it is documented that 3000 to 5000 people were killed for the crime of heresy. Verdi's depiction of key elements of the Spanish Inquisition - the Grand Inquisitor, the auto-da-fé, perpetuate an image of widespread terror and torture. Based on a semi-historical drama by the great German Romantic Friedrich Schiller, Don Carlo centers on the Spanish King Philip II (1527–1598), his third wife, Elisabeth of Valois, and his son from his first marriage, Carlos, Prince of Asturias. The opera not only provides ample opportunity for scenic splendor, it also contains magnificent roles for singing actors, some of the greatest arias in the Italian repertory, orchestral writing that achieves symphonic heights, and a strong choral presence.
For director Nicholas Hytner, Don Carlo is "the quintessential Verdi opera. Right through it, there is, on the one hand, an implacable expression of impending doom and, on the other, a succession of the most gloriously open-throated arias, the most fantastically determined music."
Lorin Maazel conducts this co-production of The Metropolitan Opera, Britain's Royal Opera Covent Garden, and The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
Elisabeth de Valois: Barbara Frittoli
Princess Eboli: Anna Smirnova
Don Carlo: Ramón Vargas
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa: Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Philip II: Ferruccio Furlanetto
Grand Inquisitor: Eric Halfvarson