Verdi's Don Carlo

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann and Mariusz Kwiecien in Verdi's 'Don Carlo' Jonas Kaufmann and Mariusz Kwiecien in 'Don Carlo' (Royal Opera House/Catherine Ashmore)

The first of WQXR's series of special Saturday broadcasts from the Royal Opera House in London features Verdi’s dramatic tale of love, ambition and intrigue set in 16th-century Spain.

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann plays Don Carlos, who falls in love with Elizabeth, daughter of Henry II of France (soprano Anja Harteros). But his father, King Philip II of Spain (bass Ferruccio Furlanetto), intends to marry her himself to secure a peace treaty. Can Don Carlos give up his love for the good of the state?

Nicholas Hytner directs this co-production with Norwegian National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.


Ferruccio Furlanetto, bass, Philippe II (Philip II), King of Spain
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor, Don Carlos (Don Carlo), Infante of Spain
Mariusz Kwiecien, baritone, Rodrigue (Rodrigo), Marquis of Posa
Eric Halfvarson, bass, The Grand Inquisitor
Anja Harteros, soprano, Elisabeth de Valois
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, mezzo-soprano, Princess Eboli, an aristocrat in court
Théo Ghil, bass, Priest Inquisitor
Dusica Bijelic, soprano, Thibault (Tebaldo), page to Elisabeth
Susana Gaspar, soprano, A Voice from Heaven
Pablo Bemsch, tenor, Count of Lerma
Elizabeth Woods, Countess of Aremberg
Robert Lloyd, Carlos V

Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra: Royal Opera Orchestra
Conductor: Antonio Pappano

Comments [13]

presbar from New York

I did like the performance in general, especially Harteros and Furlanetto. Hearing performances from other venues than the Met makes us more aware of the limitations of said institution. The current Met management is somewhat in disarray since the decline of Levine's health, and Gelb's taste in productions hasn't exactly been to everyone's liking. Perhaps things will sort themselves out eventually. And yes, I still think Don Carlos is much too long, no matter how inspired each individual number may be. Verdi did better in shorter time spans, e.g. Traviata, Otello and some others. Only Wagner was able to master the 5-hour opera.

Sep. 14 2013 05:30 PM
steve lerit from morristown, nj

This is truly a masterpiece and it is by no means "too long." The present performance is magnificently conducted and sung, the best I have heard since the Met 1950 under Stiedry (with Bjorling as Carlo) and the Met 1964 under Adler (with Corelli as Carlo).

Sep. 14 2013 04:56 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

What a joy to hear \this Italian version. It's gutsier and even better conceived than the original French version.
Wagner composed his "Rienzi" in 1840 as a six hour opera, later trimmed it one full hoiur in consideration of the title role tenor and his wife Minna's complaint that after the Dresden premiere, the opera being so long, all the restaurants had already closed. The cast was one of the best although I remember my colleagues Jerome Hines, Jussi Bjprling and Robert Merrill distilling the essence of the opera in sublime singing. FERRUCCCIO FURLANETTO [Philip II], JONAS KAUFMANN [Don Carlo], MAURIUSZ KWIECIEN [Rodrigo], ANJA HARTEROS [Elizabeth], BEATRICE URIA-MONZON [Eboli] and ERIC HALVARSON [Grand Iquisitior] and maesttro ANTONIO PAPPANO were all passionate in their marvelous singing and convincing dramaturgically. KUDOS TO ALL !!! I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer ["SHAKESPEARE" and "THE POLITICAL SHAKESPEARE"] and director of The Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where all the Wagner and all the Shakespeare roles arte taught as well as vocal technque for singing and declamation.

Sep. 14 2013 04:47 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Bravo Furlanetto. Poor King Philip, and what great music to start off that scene. Who ever thought one could feel sorry for King Philip. But Verdi was able to do this.

Sep. 14 2013 03:43 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Rob: I am from Planet Earth. Maybe this opera seems too long for me is that some of the music is not "so hot". I can find fault and do not have to be so reverential. am I starting a kerfufel. Oh Joy.

Sep. 14 2013 03:26 PM
Carry from new york

Where is there a synopsis of this and other operas you broadcast?

Those listeners who are to become opera lovers should be given the information they need to comprehend what they are hearing.

Sep. 14 2013 03:25 PM
Rob from Manhattan

"too long"....."music not so hot." Indeed! what planet are you living on?

Sep. 14 2013 02:47 PM
mike from Newport RI

I certainly agree with Sid! It is a delight to hear instead of looking at some of the senseless sets also and direction.

Sep. 14 2013 02:24 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Thank you Presbar. We are not alone.
Otavio: How can I forget Tu che la vanita. My bad.

Sep. 14 2013 02:11 PM
Sid James from Astoria, NY

How much better this performance is than those we have been forced to suffer through at the Met in the past three years. Except for Ferrucio Furlanetto, of course, who is wonderful in any theatre and was the only saving grace in the last Met revival.

Come to think of it, this was also true of the ROH's Macbeth (now on DVD) with Keenlyside and Monastryska, compared to the last hideous Met cast of Hampson and Michael, and any number of other Verdi operas.

Why can't today's Met achieve the higher standards of performance so evident in London?

Sep. 14 2013 01:31 PM
octavio from new orleans

Grand opera at its of my favorites,never miss an opportunity to listen or see. Yes, this one has a great cast. If you stay until the end, you are rewarded with "Tu che la vanita", a masterpiece for a dramatic soprano.

Sep. 14 2013 01:30 PM
presbar from New York

Concetta, I thought I was the only one to find this opera too long. Whenever I go to it at the Met, I have to force myself to stay after O don fatale. I have no problems with the even longer Wagner operas, maybe because they're continuous and aren't cluttered with set pieces. I will, however, listen to this today because of the casting, which sounds promising.

Sep. 14 2013 11:54 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Some of this opera is magnificent with some of the best music Verdi ever wrote. But it is too long. The first scene is necessary, otherwise, we think Carlos is in love with his mother rather than step-mother. Ooh, CREEPY. This scene seems to go on forever, music not so hot. Eboli's aria of the Veil is a welcome piece but the O Don Fatale seems to go on forever, sounds like screaming in Italian or French, which ever version is used. Philip's aria, She never loved me, is poignant. Now, don't get your dander up folks. I do not want to start another kerfufel. (God,I love that word.) I've been listening to this opera for 50 years and have read the score many times.

Sep. 14 2013 09:43 AM

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