Verdi's Don Carlos

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Houston Grand Opera presents the original five-act French-language version of Verdi's sprawling grand opera. The work is based on Friedrich Schiller's play inspired by 16th-century history, and centers upon the triangle of the title character, played by Brandon Jovanovich, his father, King Philip II of Spain (Andrea Silvestrelli); and French princess Elizabeth de Valois (Tamara Wilson).

The betrothed Carlos and Elizabeth meet and fall in love — but are devastated when, as part of a treaty, Elizabeth must marry Philip instead. It goes downhill from there — or does it?

Cast:

Don Carlos   Brandon Jovanovich
Elisabeth de Valois  Tamara Wilson
Princess Eboli   Christine Goerke
Rodrigue   Scott Hendricks
Phillipe II   Andrea Silvestrelli
The Grand Inquisitor  Samuel Ramey
Spirit of Charles V  Oren Gradus
Thibault   Lauren Snouffer
Celestial Voice  Brittany Wheeler
Comte de Lerme  Boris Dyakov
Royal Herald   Scott Quinn
Forester   Mark Diamond

CONDUCTOR:  Patrick Summers
STAGE DIRECTOR:  John Caird
HOUSTON GRAND OPERA ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
CHORUS MASTER:  Richard Bado

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Comments [8]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Pardon my typo, I meant to write AFRICANA by Meyerbeer.

Nov. 24 2012 06:27 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

DON CARLOS is a major masterpiece of opera, but it succeeds best in the final revised Iitalian version. Friedrich Schiller served both Verdi in this work and Beethoven in the text for the "Choral Symphony." The opera L'Aficana written originally in French by Meyerbeer, also is better its Italian version. Rodrigo's and Philip ll's arias are, to my taste, the superior arias of the work, although the O Don Fatale, when sung well can be real tour de force. Sadly, Samuel Ramey, as the Grand Inqisitor, had an atrocious wobble throughout his singing. Deszo Ernster also had a bad wobble, but after changing his vocal production, his voice returned to its best estate sans a wobble.
Samuel Ramey should seek out the teacher to return his voice to a viable healthy condition. it is still possible if he intends to sing competitively. The Met Opera should suggest to him the course to take. They owe it to their artists, present and past, to advise from their impartial point of view.

Nov. 24 2012 06:24 PM
Paul from Brooklyn, NY

Very disappointed with the ending. Why do we need to have 15 seconds of anti-climatic soft music to listen to Elisabetta sobbing, after Carlos is drawn into the tomb (if in fact he is). If in fact Verdi wrote it this way for the French version, he must have had good reason to revise it in the Italian version.

Nov. 24 2012 05:37 PM
Larry Eisenberg from NYC

I can't praise Tamara too highly,
With lowered eyes and very shyly,
What a sound, what a voice,
She made me rejoice,
I add this comment by the byly.

Nov. 24 2012 04:19 PM
Larry Eisenberg from NYC

It is a Verdi masterpiece
Whose magical moments won't cease,
A miscast voice or two
Made this listener blue,
But better I should hold my peace.

Italian I much would prefer,
To do it in French is to err,
An appetite whetter
It sounds so much better,
With Tenorino I concur.

Nov. 24 2012 04:00 PM
Charles Warren from New York City

This is one of my favorite operas. As one who has admired Samuel Ramey for years, it is sad to see his voice so diminished. The scene with the King and the Grand Inquisitor is a great scene but I was very disappointed in the performance.

Nov. 24 2012 03:52 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

This opera is too long. The first scene in the gardens was not used years ago. The plot is explained by the wonderful second scene in the church during the duet between Carlos and the Marquis DePoza. Flawed masterpiece but it has glorious moments. Particularly moving is Philip's aria. "She never loved me." Could live without O Don Fatale, it goes on and on. Lovely singing by today's Elizabeth.

Nov. 24 2012 02:22 PM
Tenorino from NYC

Curious: why did they opt for the French version???

Nov. 24 2012 01:50 PM

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