Verdi's Don Carlo
Claus Guth (stage director), Juraj Valčuha (conductor) — With Michele Pertusi (Filippo II), Matthew Polenzani (Don Carlo), Ludovic Tézier (Rodrigo), Elīna Garanča (Princess Eboli) …
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Claus Guth — Stage director
Etienne Pluss — Set designer
Petra Reinhardt — Costume designer
Olaf Freese — Lighting designer
Roland Horvath — Video
Yvonne Gebauer — Dramaturgy
Michele Pertusi — Filippo II
Matthew Polenzani — Don Carlo
Ludovic Tézier — Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa
Alexander Tsymbalyuk — The Grand Inquisitor
Giorgi Manoshvili — A monk
Ailyn Pérez — Elisabetta di Valois
Elīna Garanča — Princess Eboli
Cassandre Berthon — Tebaldo
Luigi Strazzullo — The Count of Lerma
Massimo Sirigu — A royal herald
Maria Sardaryan — A voice from the sky
The Teatro San Carlo in Naples opens its 2022-23 artistic season by presenting the full five-act version of Verdi’s Don Carlo, which last played there in 1872! This Italian version (the original libretto, Don Carlos, was written in French) was for a long time the most commonly played, until some interpreters of Verdi—notably Abbado in 1977—chose to restore the original score.
In this production, Matthew Polenzani performs an elegant and melancholic Don Carlo, suffering in his impossible love for his stepmother Elisabetta (an excellent Ailyn Pérez), the princess of France. The king’s Filippo II, played by the great Michele Pertusi, represents tyrannical monarchy and opposes the revolutionary stirrings of the marquis Rodrigo, performed by award-winning baritone Ludovic Tézier. The sublime Elīna Garanča, for her part, after her resounding successes in Carmen and Cavalleria rusticana, returns to the stage of the Teatro San Carlo as the jealous princess Eboli, while Alexander Tsymbalyuk, as the Great Inquisitor, evokes the dark shadow of the Catholic Church’s tribunals.
This titanic grand opéra à la française, including dance sequences and majestic choral scenes, displays a much more European taste than Verdi’s usual fare, owing in part to the libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, based in turn on the tragedy of the same name by Schiller. The work’s striking modernity can be felt in the subtle introspective analysis of the characters, wavering between public duty and personal pleasure, reflected by a dynamic and relentless action. Juraj Valčuha’s orchestra and Claus Guth’s direction, in his first appearance at San Carlo, lead the ensemble in this superb staging, enhanced even further by Petra Reinhardt’s costumes and Etienne Pluss’s set design.
Elīna Garanča appears courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon.
Photos © Sarah Katharina Hochmayer (Elīna Garanča) / Gregor Hohenberg (Ludovic Tézier) / Dario Acosta (Ailyn Pérez) / (Matthew Polenzani) / Roberto Ricci (Michele Pertusi)