Don Carlo in Moscow at the Bolshoi

 

bolshoilogo

Don Carlo

Opera in four acts

Premiered on December 17, 2013

Presented with one interval.
Running time: 3 hours 45 minutes.

The score has been made available by RICORDI

Libretto by François-Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle
Original Italian translation by Achille De Lauzières, revised by Angelo Zanardini
‘Milan’ version 1884

carlo1

Conductors: Robert Treviño, Giacomo Sagripanti
Stage Director: Adrian Noble
Set Designer: Tobias Hoheisel
Costume Designer: Moritz Junge
Lighting Designer: Jean Kalman
Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Choreographer: Darren Ross
Make up Artist: Campbell Young
Assistant to Director: Elsa Rooke
Assistant to Costume Designer: Elaine Garlick

In Honor of Giuseppe Verdi Bicentennial

carlo2

CAST

25 November 2015

Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Philip II, the King of Spain Rafal Siwek
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Andrea Caré
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Elchin Azizov
The Grand Inquisitor Vyacheslav Pochapsky
A Monk Nikolai Kazansky
Elisabeth of Valois Veronika Dzhioeva
Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court Elena Zelenskaya
Thibault, page to Elisabeth Oxana Gorchakovskaya
The Count of Lerma Marat Gali
Royal Herald Arseny Yakovlev
A Voice from Heaven Ruslana Koval

carlo3

26 November 2015

Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Philip II, the King of Spain Andrei Gonuykov
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Oleg Dolgov
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Vasily Ladyuk
The Grand Inquisitor Pyotr Migunov
A Monk Oleg Tsybulko
Elisabeth of Valois Elena Evseyeva
Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court Anastasia Bibicheva
Thibault, page to Elisabeth Ruslana Koval
The Count of Lerma Stanislav Mostovoy
Royal Herald Bogdan Volkov
A Voice from Heaven Olga Kulchinskaya

carlo4

27 November 2015

Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Philip II, the King of Spain Rafal Siwek
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Andrea Caré
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Elchin Azizov
The Grand Inquisitor Vyacheslav Pochapsky
A Monk Nikolai Kazansky
Elisabeth of Valois Veronika Dzhioeva
Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court Elena Zelenskaya
Thibault, page to Elisabeth Oxana Gorchakovskaya
The Count of Lerma Marat Gali
Royal Herald Arseny Yakovlev
A Voice from Heaven Ruslana Koval

carlo5

28 November 2015

Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Philip II, the King of Spain Andrei Gonuykov
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Oleg Dolgov
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Vasily Ladyuk
The Grand Inquisitor Pyotr Migunov
A Monk Oleg Tsybulko
Elisabeth of Valois Elena Evseyeva
Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court Anastasia Bibicheva
Thibault, page to Elisabeth Ruslana Koval
The Count of Lerma Stanislav Mostovoy
Royal Herald Bogdan Volkov
A Voice from Heaven Olga Kulchinskaya

carlo6

29 November 2015

Conductor Giacomo Sagripanti
Philip II, the King of Spain Rafal Siwek
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Andrea Caré
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Elchin Azizov
The Grand Inquisitor Vyacheslav Pochapsky
A Monk Nikolai Kazansky
Elisabeth of Valois Veronika Dzhioeva
Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court Elena Zelenskaya
Thibault, page to Elisabeth Oxana Gorchakovskaya
The Count of Lerma Marat Gali
Royal Herald Arseny Yakovlev
A Voice from Heaven Ruslana Koval

carlo7

SYNOPSIS

In 1556, the Emperor Charles V abdicated, celebrated his own funeral and retired to the monastery of San Jeronimo at Yuste. His son Philip II is now on the throne of Spain. To seal the peace between France and Spain after a long war, Philip marries Elisabeth of Valois, the daughter of Henry II, the French King, who has long been betrothed to his son Don Carlo.

carlo8

ACT I

Scene 1
The cloister of the Yuste monastery

A Monk prays before the gates of the tomb of Charles V. Carlo starts at the sound of the voice — is this his grandfather, the Emperor?
Carlo’s friend Rodrigo, the Marquis of Posa, joins him, and advises him to conquer his sorrow caused by losing his bride by a noble enterprise — that of freeing Flanders. The two vow to live and die together.

carlo9

Scene 2
Outside the Yuste monastery gates

Outside the monastery, which no woman but the Queen may enter, her ladies while away the time with the song Princess Eboli sings.

The Queen enters, followed by Posa, who brings Elisabeth a letter from her mother and, under cover of the letter, a note from Carlo. While Eboli and Posa chat about the latest Paris fashions, Elisabeth reads the note, which tells her to trust Posa. In two broad strophes, Posa urges Elisabeth grant Carlo an interview, while Eboli (in asides) reveals her love for Carlo, and her hope that he loves her. Dismissing her ladies, Elisabeth consents to Posa’s request. Carlo, at first controlled, asks Elisabeth to obtain the King’s permission that he should leave for Flanders, but then his emotions overcome him and he falls to the ground in a swoon. On recovering, he clasps Elisabeth in his arms, defying the world. But she exclaims, “Then smite your father. Come stained with his murder, to lead your mother to the altar.” Carlo runs off in despair.

Philip enters, angry to find the Queen unattended. Coldly he orders the lady-in-waiting who should have been with her to return to France. Elisabeth consoles her. The company leaves, but Philip orders Posa to remain: has he no favour to ask for? “Nothing for me,” replies the Marquis, “but for others”; and, invited to speak freely, he describes the terror and destruction being wrought in Flanders. “At this bloody price,” says Philip, “I have paid for the peace of the world.” “The peace of a graveyard,” Posa replies: one word from Philip could change the world and set people free. The King, struck by Posa’s fearless honesty, confides to him his suspicions about his wife and his son, and appoints him his personal counsellor, but bids him beware the Grand Inquisitor.

carlo10

ACT II

Scene 1
The Queen’s gardens

Carlo enters, reading a note of midnight assignation which he believes has come from Elisabeth. When Eboli (who wrote the note) enters, masked, Carlo mistakes her for Elisabeth, and pours out his love. Too late, the mistake is revealed, and Eboli guesses his secret. Posa enters and tries to silence her, but in a tense trio she bids them beware the fury of a woman scorned. Posa asks Carlo to entrust to him any incriminating papers he may be carrying, and after a moment’s hesitation — can he trust the King’s new favourite? — Carlo does so.

Scene 2
A large square before the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Atocha

The people gather to acclaim their King. Monks escort some Inquisition victims across the square; a splendid auto da fe, or public burning of heretics, is among the attractions of the day. Philip appears from the church and swears solemnly to serve God with fire and the sword. Suddenly a group of men cast themselves at his feet, and Carlo, who has led them there, announces that they are deputies from Flanders. The Flemings break into an eloquent plea for their country. Philip orders them to be taken away. All — except the monks — urge him to show mercy. At the close of the huge ensemble, Carlo asks his father to send him to Flanders as regent, and when Philip refuses, draws his sword on the King. No one dares to disarm him, until Posa steps forward. The King rewards Posa by making him a Duke, and the festive chorus is resumed.

carlo11

ACT III

Scene 1
The King’s study

Philip is alone in his study and reflects gloomily on his loveless, careworn life. The Grand Inquisitor is announced. Philip doubts whether he will be forgiven if he condemns his son to death; the Inquisitor demands that Posa should be handed over to the Inquisition. Philip refuses. The Inquisitor declares that Philip himself is in danger of being summoned before the Inquisition and leaves.

Elisabeth rushes in, distressed that her jewel casket has been stolen. Philip, who has it, opens it and draws out a portrait of Carlo. Elisabeth reminds him that she was once betrothed to the Prince, but he calls her an adulterous wife. She swoons. Eboli and Posa enter, and in a quartet Philip curses his unworthy suspicions, Eboli expresses her regret (for it was she who stole the casket), Posa decides that the time has come for him to take action, and Elisabeth, reviving, laments her unhappy life in this friendless country.

The two women are left alone. Eboli confesses that, drive by jealousy, she denounced Elisabeth to the King. At Eboli’s further confession, that she has been Philip’s mistress, Elisabeth tells her to choose, the following day, between exile and the veil, and leaves. Eboli curses the gift of fatal beauty that has caused her ruin. Her thoughts turn to Carlo, and she resolves to save him during the one day this is left to her.

Scene 2
Don Carlo’s prison

Posa comes to bid Carlo farewell; he is marked for death, since Carlo’s incriminating papers have been found on him — but Carlo can go free, to save Flanders. A shot is fired, and Posa falls. Quickly he explains that Elisabeth awaits Carlo at the Yuste cloister; he dies content, since by his death he secures the happy future of Spain. Philip enters, to return to Carlo his sword. A warning bell rings out; a crowd storms the prison, demanding the Prince. The tumult is quelled by the Grand Inquisitor, who orders the sacrilegious mob to fall on its knees before the King.

carlo12

ACT IV

The Cloister at Yuste

Elisabeth invokes the spirit of the Emperor Charles: may he carry her prayers to the Eternal Throne. Carlo enters and declares that he is done with dreaming; now he will save Flanders. The two take a solemn farewell, hoping to meet in a better world: “And for ever! Farewell!” Philip and the Inquisitor have overheard them; the King delivers his son to the Inquisition. The gates of the Emperor’s tomb open, and the Monk steps forth. He enfolds Carlo in his mantle and leads him into the cloister, recognized as Charles V by everyone present on stage.

ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE:

“In Don Carlo one feels a thirst for freedom”

The Don Carlo performance history at the Bolshoi Theatre is a short one. The opera was premièred at the Theatre on 2 November 1876 by an Italian troupe — there were a total of ten performances after which Don Carlo disappeared for a long time out of the repertoire. Its next appearance on the Theatre playbills was due to the initiative of Fyodor Chaliapin — there was just one performance on 10 February 1917 (Chaliapin sang King Philip). The third production to mark the 150th anniversary of Verdi’s birth opened at the Theatre on 25 October 1963 and this time Don Carlo remained in the repertoire for twenty-five years.

For the bicentennial of Verdi’s birth which this year has been celebrated across the globe, the Bolshoi invited the eminent British director, Adrian Noble, to do a new version of Don Carlo. An acknowledged expert on Shakespeare (for 13 years he was artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and is the author of the book How to do Shakespeare), he is also known as a director of musicals and operas: the span of his interest ranging all the way from baroque opera to the modern musical. He has worked for the Glyndebourne Festival, the Opera Festival at Aix-en-Provence, the Metropolitan, La Scala, Wiener Staatsoper and for other Companies (over 20). He has received more than 20 Olivier Award nominations.

ADRIAN NOBLE:

“I belong to the ranks of those directors who trust authors and follow their dramaturgy. Great works talk to us directly across the centuries. And a story which in its time attracted one of the ‘chief’ romantics — Schiller, and then Verdi, the first composer of the Risorgimento, is still topical today. Both Schiller and Verdi examine the issues of state and the individual, of politics and the freedom of man. In Don Carlo one feels a thirst for freedom, I would even say that the spirit of revolt hovers in the air.

It seemed to me natural and logical not to transfer the action of the opera to a different age. If we manage to recreate the world of 16th century Spain on stage, that atmosphere of itself will shock the contemporary spectator and there will be no need to resort to additional directorial devices.

Imagine to yourself: a huge, rapidly growing empire which is held together by the mighty power of king, Inquisition and army. A society which wages a battle against nonconformists, in which rigid ceremonial plays a huge role and live human emotions are dangerous and carry death in their wake.

Luckily there are a lot of portraits of the historical prototypes of the opera’s heroes and we know exactly what they looked like. Their clothes — the external expression of their status in the rigid hierarchy, their duties and their lack of freedom. They are confined in their clothing as if it was a cocoon. Each character to some extent is in prison, each is bound by his duty. Philip II cannot be father to his son — he is a monarch aware of his mission before God and to the empire. Don Carlo is heir to a huge empire, but his convictions are absolutely opposed to those of his father. Elizabeth is queen and does not have the right to show her feelings. And they are all terribly lonely”.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in OPera and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s