Giuseppe Verdi

"Nabucco" — 1842
"Ernani" — 1844

"Macbeth" — 1847
"Rigoletto" — 1851
"Il Trovatore" - 1853
"La Traviata" — 1853

"Les vepres siciliennes" - 1855
"Un ballo in maschera" - 1859
"La forza del destino" - 1862
"Don Carlos" -  1867

"Aida" - 1871
Messa da Requiem -  1874
"Otello" - 1887
"Falstaff" - 1893
Giuseppe Verdi
"Les vepres siciliennes" - 1855
Les vêpres siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers) is a grand opéra in five acts by the Italian romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi set to a French libretto by Eugène Scribe and Charles Duveyrier from their work Le duc d'Albe, which was written in 1838. Les vêpres followed immediately after Verdi's three great mid-career masterpieces, Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata of 1850 to 1853 and was first performed at the Paris Opéra on 13 June 1855.

Today it is better-known in its post-1861 Italian version as I vespri siciliani and it is occasionally performed. The story is based on a historical event, the Sicilian Vespers of 1282, using material drawn from the medieval Sicilian tract Lu rebellamentu di Sichilia.

Composition history

After Verdi's first grand opera for the Paris Opéra—that being his adaptation of I Lombardi in 1847 given under the title of Jérusalem - the composer had wanted to write a completely new grand opera for the company, the appeal being the same as that which influenced all Italian composers of the day: the challenges of a form different from that of their homeland and the ability to appeal to an audience which welcomed novelty.

Verdi began discussions with the Opéra but negotiations were stalled by the 1848 revolutions and the composer broke them off for a period of time. It was not until February 1852 (while Il trovatore was still being prepared) that he returned to Paris and entered into a contract to write an opera, the libretto to be prepared by Scribe, who was given a deadline for a "treatment" to be delivered on 30 June 1853 with rehearsals to begin in mid-1854 and the opera staged in November/December of that year. Verdi was guaranteed the choice of suitable artists as well as forty performances in the ten months following the premiere.

In July 1852, Verdi had written to Scribe outlining his hopes:

I should like, I need a subject that is grandiose, impassioned and original; a mise-en-scene that is imposing and overwhelming. I have consistently in view so many of those magnificent scene to be found in your poems ... Indeed, these scenes are miracles! But you work them so often that I hope you will work one for me.

When Scribe missed his July 1853 deadline, Verdi went to Paris to negotiate directly and it was then that the librettist proposed a solution, using a revised version of the libretto for Le duc d'Albe, one which had been written about 20 years before at the height of the French grand opera tradition and which had previously been offered to Halevy (who refused it) and to Donizetti (who partly set it to music in 1839 under the original title). Verdi raised many objections, many of these being outlined in a letter from Scribe to Duveyrier of December 1853. They included a change of location, of characters' names, certain specific situations (there being no beer halls in Sicily, for example), plus a demand for a "standard" fifth act to make it equivalent to Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots or Le Prophète

However, this "meant that Verdi was writing his first (original) opéra at a point at which the genre was in a state of flux". Musicologist Julian Budden adds: "In opting for the grandest possible scale, Verdi was running against the current of fashion" (which he notes had significantly shifted in the months and years following the 1848 uprising, so that the country was now firmly in the epoch of Napoleon III, meaning "that the social foundation on which [grand opera] rested was now withdrawn")

Verdi spent 1854 forcing Scribe to make revisions while writing the music, "complaining about the sheer length demanded by audiences at the Opéra". Overall, it was a frustrating time for the composer, especially in dealing with Scribe's 5th act. The librettist was unresponsive to Verdi's pleas for revisions, until finally, he was forced in late 1854 (with no premiere in sight and the mysterious disappearance from rehearsals of Sophie Cruvelli, who sang Hélène) to write to the Opera's director, Louis Crosnier: "To avoid the catastrophe that menaces us ... I see but one means and I do not hesitate to propose it: dissolution of the contract". However, Verdi persevered and was present at the June 1855 premiere having now spent something close to two years in Paris working on the opera.

Performance history
19th century

The first performance at the Paris Opéra on 13 June 1855 was received to great acclaim.La Presse noted:

Verdi's music has conformed to the procedure invented by French genius without losing anything of its Italian ardour.

Hector Berlioz wrote:

In Les vêpres the penetrating intensity of the melodic expressiveness, the sumptuous, wise variety of the instrumentation, the vastness and poetic sonority of the concerted pieces, the hot colour that shines throughout ... communicate to this opera an imprint of grandeur, a species of sovereign majesty more distinguishable that in this composer's earlier products.

Budden notes that "the critics found much to admire in the new opera. ... Adolphe Adam declared that Les vêpres had converted him to Verdi's music", but Verdi himself, in a letter of late June, notes that it was three Italian writers who were the most critical.

However, its success was not long-lasting. Because the original version never entered the established repertory, performances "limped along" until Verdi attempted to aid its revival at the Paris Opéra on 6 July 1863 by revising some of the roles for selected singers. However, after a few performances, the opera disappeared and was replaced by the French version of Il trovatore, Le trouvère. Except for this one revival in Paris in 1863, "it vanished from the Parisian stage altogether"

20th century and beyond

Les vêpres was presented in 1994 as part of the Sarasota Opera's "Verdi Cycle" and recordings exist of a concert performance in 2002 in Paris; a production mounted at the Bastille Opera in 2003; and a 2010 production by the Netherlands Opera. In May 2011 French versions were presented at the Grand Théâtre de Genève and at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and, in February 2013, the ABAO company in Bilbao presented the opera.

Recent presentations have included a concert performance mounted by the Caramoor Festival in July 2013, as well as a September/October staging by Frankfurt Opera,

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden's staging of the full version for the first time in its history (minus the ballet) in October/November 2013 drew a variety of critical approaches.

Verdi's Italian language version
An Italian libretto was quickly prepared under Verdi's supervision by the poet Ettore Caimi. The composer was aware that in Italy at that time, it would have been impossible to place the story in Sicily, as he notes to his publisher Giulio Ricordi in April 1855: "I shall ... (change) the subject so as to render it acceptable for Italian theatres". Based on Scribe's suggestions for changing the location - "I suggested that the Duke of Alba should just pack his bags once more and move to Lisbon"[20] - it became Portugal in 1640 while under Spanish control. Therefore, the title was changed to Giovanna de Guzman. Overall, Verdi was not happy with the translation, which Budden regards as "one of the worst ever perpetrated. However, some improvements were made when the opera reverted to its translated Italian title after 1861.

After 1861, in the post-unification era, the opera reverted to its translated Italian title, I vespri siciliani and it is under that title and in that version that the opera is most frequently performed today.


Place: Palermo, Italy
Time: 1282
Prior to the events of the opera, Procida, a leading Sicilian patriot, was wounded by French troops during their invasion of Sicily, and was forced into exile. Montfort, leader of the French troops, raped a Sicilian woman who later gave birth to a son, Henri. Montfort became governor of Sicily, while the Sicilian woman brought up her son to hate him, without revealing to Henri that Montfort was his father.

Act 1
Palermo's main square

Thibault, Robert and other French soldiers have gathered in front of the Governor's palace. As they offer a toast to their homeland, they are observed by the local Sicilians, unhappy with the occupation.

Hélène, who is being held hostage by the French governor, Montfort, enters dressed in mourning for her brother, Duke Frédéric of Austria, who had been executed by the French exactly a year before and whose death remains unavenged. Somewhat drunk, Robert, a French soldier of low rank, demands that she sing and she agrees. Her song, about the perils of seamen and God's cry of "let dangers be scorned", (Viens à nous, Dieu tutélaire / "Pray, O mighty God, calm with thy smile both sky and sea"), ends with a rallying-cry (Courage!...du courage!) to the Sicilians to rebel against the occupiers. When the governor enters, the crowd calms down. Henri, just released from prison, assures Hélène how deeply he despises the governor. Overhearing this, Montfort orders Hélène to leave and then, alone with Henri, offers him a powerful position with his men as long as he stays away from Hélène. He refuses, and immediately follows Hélène into the palace.

Act 2
Beside the sea

Procida lands on the shore from a small fishing boat. It is clear that he is returning from exile and he expresses his joy at returning to his native land and city: Et toi, Palerme / "O thou Palermo, adored land ...". He is surrounded by Manfroid and other companions and he quickly orders his men to bring Hélène and Henri to him: (Dans l'ombre et le silence/ "In darkness and in silence"). The three make plans for an uprising during the impending festivities leading to the marriages of a group of young people. After Procida leaves, Hélène asks Henri what reward he seeks. Swearing that he will avenge her brother's death, he asks for nothing but her love.

Béthune arrives with an invitation from Montfort to attend a ball. Henri refuses and is arrested and dragged off. Led by Robert, a group of French soldiers arrive and Procida returns and sees that it is too late to save Henri, since the young people have come into the square and have begun to dance. As the dance becomes more lively, Robert signals to his men, who seize many of the young women, dragging them off in spite of the protests of the young Sicilian men. The dejected young men witness a passing boat filled with French nobles and Sicilian women, all bound for the ball. Procida and others determine to gain entrance to the ball and seek their revenge.

Act 3
Scene 1: Montfort's palace

Montfort reads a paper from the woman whom he abducted, which reveals that Henri is his son: Si, m'abboriva ed a ragion! / "Yes, she despised me, and rightly!". Béthune tells him that Henri has been brought by force, but Montfort exalts in the fact that his son is close by: / "Au sein de la puissance" / Given over to riches, surrounded by honors, an immense, horrid void ...". The two men confront one another and Henri is somewhat puzzled by the way he is being treated. Finally, Montfort reveals the letter written by Henri's mother. Taken aback but still defiant, Henri insults his father who reacts in anger as the younger man rushes out: "Fatal word!, Mortal insult! The joy has vanished ...".

Scene 2: A ball at Montfort's palace

When Montfort enters, he gives the signal for the ballet to begin.[23] In the crowd, but disguised, are Hélène, Henri, and Procida. Henri is surprised when the two reveal themselves and they declare that their purpose is to save the young man. However, he is disturbed to hear that they intend to kill Montfort and when the father approaches the son, there is a hint of warning given. As approaching assassins close in, Henri leaps in front of his father just as Hélène approaches. The Sicilians are horrified to see that Henri is being spared as the ensemble contemplates the situation. Hélène, Procida, Daniéli and the Sicilians curse Henri as they are dragged away, while he wants to follow, but is restrained by Montfort.

Act 4
A prison

Henri arrives at the prison gate and, on Montfort's orders, waits to be admitted. He contemplates the situation that his friends are in: "O jour de peine"/ Day of weeping, of fierce sorrow!". Hélène is brought out and confronts him. Finally, he admits that Montfort is his father and she begins to be willing to sympathise: Henri! Ah, parli a un core ... / "Henri! Ah, you speak to a heart already prepared to forgive." Not seeing Henri, Procida approaches Hélène and reveals a letter telling him of awaiting freedom. But Montfort arrives and orders a priest and the execution of the prisoners while Procida is amazed to discover the truth of Henri's situation. Henri begs for mercy for his friends and Montfort confronts him with one thing: Dimme sol, di "Mio padre / "Say to me only, say "My father ...". Henri says nothing as the executioner appears and the couple are led away, followed by Henri. Montfort steps in to prevent him from joining them. As Hélène is led towards the executioner, Montfort steps in and announces a pardon for the Sicilians. Furthermore, he agrees to the marriage of Hélène and Henri and announces to the crowd: "I find a son again!". There is general rejoicing.

Act 5
The gardens of Montfort's palace

As knights and maidens gather, Hélène gives thanks to all: "Merci, jeunes amies" /"Thank you, beloved friends". Henri arrives, exclaiming his joy: "La brise souffle au loin" / "The breeze hovers about ...". He leaves to find his father, but Procida arrives, announcing a plan to outwit his enemies with their massacre to take place at the foot of the altar after the vows have been said. She is torn, the more so following Henri's return, between her love and her duty: Sorte fata! Oh, fier cimento! / "Fatal destiny! Oh, fierce conflict!". Finally, she can go no further and she tells Henri that they cannot be married. Both men are furious with her for her seeming betrayal. Then Montfort arrives, takes the couple's hands, joins them together, and pronounces them married as the bells begin to ring. This is the signal for the Sicilians to rush in and hurl themselves upon Montfort and the French.

In summing the effect of the libretto as "a competent framework for an opera of effects, of spectacle and theatrical surprise, and Verdi ended by accepting it as such", musicologist Julian Budden then notes two of its aspects which appear distinctive and which are visible in the music. Firstly, "he used it as a basis for a new, more ample, more rhythmically complex style of melody. Here the model of Meyerbeer was important ... Secondly, he seized the opportunity of solving a problem which had eluded him in a somewhat similar work, La battaglia di Legnano; namely that of reconciling the private and public emotions of the main characters. ... .the problem being overcome by means of a more varied musical language."

Musicologist Roger Parker, writing in Grove, offers a somewhat different point of view in explaining that the sheer length and scale of this opera (as well as others in the grand opera tradition) find themselves being rarely staged by modern opera houses. This point of view is based on purely musical reasons: "with very few exceptions, its main lyrical numbers lack the melodic immediacy of the trio of Italian operas (Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata) that immediately preceded it." However, he does go on to say that Les Vêpres "marks in a decisive turn way from the language of the middle-period Italian operas and the emergence of many stylistic features we associate with the later Verdi."

Given the frustrations which Verdi encountered in the two-year long preparation of the opera and the several expressions of these frustrations in letters to Giuseppina Strepponi (with whom he was having a relationship which began about 1847), writer Irving Kolodin in his essay for the RCA recording, hits on a solution which Strepponi herself had provided:

In your position I wouldn't tie myself in any way for the present. I should look for a libretto I liked and set it to music without any engagement and in my own time.[25](Italics in the original).
Kolodin comments: "It was, of course, the principle by which Verdi's later career was guided when he had the land and the position he craved and the security that went with them and a wise wife."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Verdi, I vespri siciliani. Teatro alla Scala
Giuseppe Verdi, I vespri siciliani
Teatro alla Scala, Milano
Conductor: Riccardo Muti
Director: Pier Luigi Pizzi
Cast: Chris Merrit, Carlo Colombara, Giorgio Zancanaro, Kallen Esperian, Gloria Banditelli
Les Vêpres Siciliennes - Ouverture - Claudio Abbado (2002)
Overture to "I Vespri Siciliani" ("The Sicilian Vespers") by Giuseppe Verdi. The Berliner Philharmoniker, Emmanuel Pahud, flute, under the leadership of Claudio Abbado, Palermo, 2002
VEPRES SICILIENNES - Erwin Schrott, Lianna Haroutounian, Bryan Hymel, Tony Pappano - ROH 2013
TERZET : Sort fatale .
Hélène : Lianna HAROUTOUNIAN .
Henry : Bryan HYMEL .
Procida : Erwin SCHROTT .
Conductor : Antonio PAPPANO .
Recording : Novembre 4 , 2013 .
"Un ballo in maschera" - 1859
Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with text by Antonio Somma. However, Somma's libretto was itself based on the five act libretto which playwright Eugène Scribe had written for Daniel Auber's 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué.

Although it was to take over two years between the time of the commission and its premiere performance, that took place at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 17 February 1859.

Scribe wrote about the assassination in 1792 of King Gustav III of Sweden who was killed as the result of a political conspiracy against him. He was shot while attending a masked ball and died 13 days later of his wounds.

In order to become the Un ballo in maschera which we know today, Verdi's opera (and his libretto) was forced to undergo a significant series of transformations, caused by a combination of censorship regulations in both Naples and Rome, as well as by the political situation in France in January 1858.

Composition history

A commission by the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in early 1857 led Verdi to begin to oversee the finalization of the libretto (also by Somma) for Re Lear with the aim of presenting the finished opera during the 1858 carnival season. When this proved to be impracticable, Verdi turned to the subject of King Gustav III's assassination as portrayed in Scribe and Auber's opera, albeit not an historically accurate narrative. That subject was well known and had been used by other composers, including Saverio Mercadante for his Il reggente in 1843.

For the libretto, Scribe retained the names of some of the historical figures involved (including fortune teller Ulrica Arfvidsson, the conspiracy, and the killing at the masked ball, but, as noted by Budden, "it was a simple case of 'cherchez la femme'": for the rest of the play Scribe invented the romance between the King and the fictional Amélie the wife of the king's secretary and best friend, and adds characters and situations such as Oscar, the page boy.

Somma's new libretto, known as Gustavo III, was presented to the censors in Naples by late 1857. By November, Verdi informed Somma that objections had been raised and revisions demanded by the censors, the most significant of which was the refusal to allow the depiction of a monarch on the stage - and especially the monarch's murder. As had happened with Rigoletto, changes in characters' names and titles were proposed (the King of Sweden became the Duke of Pomerania; Anckarström became Count Renato) and the location was moved from Stockholm to Stettin.

Working together with Somma over Christmas, Verdi accommodated these changes. Somma was asked to change the names of the characters on the Gustave libretto while Verdi worked on completing sketches of the music. The name of the opera became Una vendetta in dominò.

By 9 January 1858, prior to setting out for Naples, Verdi wrote from his home the San Carlo that "the opera is done and even here I am working on the full score". The composer then travelled to Naples and rehearsals of Una vendetta were about to begin when, on 14 January 1858, three Italians attempted to assassinate Emperor Napoleon III in Paris, an event which was to affect the opera's production.

1858: The censor blocks Una vendetta
The imposition of still further, more stringent requirements by the censor incurred Verdi's wrath. He broke his contract, returned to Sant'Agata in April, and was sued by the management of the San Carlo house. This provoked him to lodge a counter-claim against the theatre for damages and, eventually, the legal fight ended.

It was during this period of turmoil that Verdi was to describe the previous sixteen years of his composing life: in a letter to Countess Clara Maffei, he states: "From Nabucco, you may say, I have never had one hour of peace. Sixteen years in the galleys!"

1859: Una Vendetta becomes Un ballo in maschera
When the legal issues were resolved within a few months, Verdi was free to present the libretto and musical outline of Gustave III (which was basically Una vendetta with characters' names and locations changed) to the Rome Opera. There, the censors demanded further changes. Removing the action from Europe, the location became Boston during the British colonial period and the leading character became Riccardo, the Count (or Earl) of Warwick. At this point, the opera became Un ballo in maschera set in North America.

Performance history

Death of Gustavo
by August Pollak
Un ballo in maschera received its premiere performance at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 17 February 1859 and was immediately successful. The opera was first seen in New York its US premiere on 11 February 1861 and in the UK on 15 June of that year.

In the 20th century, especially after a 1935 production in Copenhagen, many modern stagings have restored the original Swedish setting and characters´ names. On 1 January 1955, Marian Anderson, singing the role of Ulrica, broke the "color barrier" at the Metropolitan Opera, becoming the first African-American vocal soloist to appear with that company.

A "hypothetical reconstruction" of Gustavo III, based on the unorchestrated original and much of Una vendetta "grafted" onto Un ballo's score, occurred in a production by the Gothenburg Opera in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2002.

The opera has become a staple of the repertoire and is now performed frequently.


Place, Stockholm, Sweden or Boston, Massachusetts.
Time, Sweden: March 1792, or Boston: the end of the 17th century.

Act 1

Scene 1: A public audience at Riccardo's palace, attended by his supporters, but also by his enemies who hope for his downfall

Riccardo (Gustavo) reviews the list of guests who will attend an upcoming masked ball. He is elated to see on the list the name of the woman he loves – Amelia, the wife of his friend and advisor, Renato (Count Anckarström). (Aria: La rivedrà nell'estasi / "With rapture I shall look upon her"). When Renato arrives, he tries to warn Riccardo about the growing conspiracy against him (aria: Alla vita che t'arride / "To the life with which you are favoured"), but Riccardo refuses to listen to his words.

Next, Riccardo is presented with a complaint against a fortune-teller named Ulrica (Madame Arvidson), accused of witchcraft. A magistrate calls for her banishment, but Oscar the page defends her (Aria: Volta la terrea / "That tense countenance"). Riccardo resolves to investigate for himself and tells the members of the court to disguise themselves and to meet him at Ulrica's lodging later that day.

Scene 2: At Ulrica's dwelling

Ulrica summons her magical powers: Re dell'abisso, affrettati / "King of the abyss make haste". Disguised as a fisherman, Riccardo arrives before the others. He makes the fortune of a sailor named Silvano come true by spiriting a document of promotion into his pouch, convincing the crowd of the truth of Ulrica's powers. When he realizes that Amelia is coming to see Ulrica, he hides and watches. Alone with Ulrica, Amelia confesses that she is tormented by her love for Riccardo, and asks for a means to bring peace to her heart. Ulrica tells her to gather a certain herb with magical powers; Riccardo resolves to be there when she does so. Amelia leaves.

Now Riccardo presents himself again, along with all of the courtiers, and asks to have his fortune told. (Aria: Di' tu se fedele / "Say whether the sea Awaits me faithfully"). Ulrica reveals that he will be killed by the next man who shakes his hand. He laughingly dismisses her prophecy and offers his hand to the courtiers, who refuse to take it. Renato arrives and shakes Riccardo's hand in greeting. Riccardo's true identity is now revealed and he is acclaimed by the people.

Maria Caniglia as Amelia in
Un ballo in maschera.

Act 2

On the outskirts of the town, at the gallows-place. Midnight

Amelia, conquering her fears, has come here alone to pick the herb of which Ulrica told her (Aria: Ma dall'arido stelo divulsa / " If through the arid stalks"). She is surprised by Riccardo, who has come to meet her, and the two finally declare their love for each other.

Unexpectedly, Renato arrives, and Amelia covers her face with her veil before he can recognize her. Renato explains to Riccardo that the conspirators are pursuing him, and his life is in danger. Riccardo leaves, making Renato promise to escort the veiled woman safely back to town, not asking her identity. When the conspirators arrive, they confront Renato; in the struggle, Amelia's veil drops. Renato assumes that Amelia and Riccardo have been involved in an adulterous love affair. He asks the two leaders of the conspiracy, Samuel and Tom, to meet him the next day.

Act 3
Scene 1: Renato's house

Renato has resolved to kill Amelia for the dishonor she has brought on him. She protests her innocence and begs to see her son one last time. (Aria: Morrò, ma prima in grazia / "I shall die - but one last wish"). Renato relents, and declares that it is Riccardo, not Amelia, who deserves to die (Aria: Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima / "It was you who stained this soul").

Samuel (Count Ribbing) and Tom (Count Horn) arrive, and Renato asks to join their plot, pledging the life of his son as proof of his sincerity. They agree to draw lots to decide who will kill Riccardo. Amelia is forced to draw the winning name – Renato.

Oscar, the page, arrives with invitations to the masked ball; Samuel, Tom and Renato agree that this is where the assassination will take place.

Scene 2: The ball

Riccardo, torn between love and duty, has resolved to renounce his love for Amelia and send her and Renato back to England (Aria: Ma se m'è forza perderti / "But if I am forced to lose you").

At the ball, Renato tries to learn from Oscar what costume Riccardo is wearing. Oscar at first refuses to tell (Aria: Saper vorreste / "You want to know How he is dressed"), but finally answers: a black cloak and a red ribbon. Riccardo manages to identify Amelia and tells her of the decision he has made. As they say goodbye, Renato stabs Riccardo. The wounded Riccardo discloses that though he loved Amelia, she never broke her marriage vows. He pardons all the conspirators, bidding farewell to his friends and his country as he dies.

The opera is scored for flute, piccolo, two oboes, cor anglais, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, cimbasso, timpani, cymbals, bass drum, harp and strings, together with offstage wind band, offstage bell and small onstage string orchestra (four to six first violins, two second violins, two violas, two cellos and two double basses).

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera - Pavarotti, Arroyo, Donath - 1971
Un Ballo in Maschera - Domingo, Ricciarelli, Cappuccilli
Riccardo : Placido Domingo
Amelia : Katia Ricciarelli
Oscar : Reri Grist
Renato : Piero Cappuccilli
Ulrica : Elizabeth Bainbridge
conductor : Claudio Abbado
Giuseppe Verdi - Un Ballo in Maschera
Un Ballo in Maschera, Opera in 3 Acts. Libretto by Antonio Somma, after Scribe's text for Auber's "Gustave III, ou le Bal Masqué". Leontyne Price, soprano: Amalia. Carlo Bergonzi, tenor: Riccardo. Robert Merrill, baritone: Renato. Shirley Verrett, mezzo-soprano: Ulrica. Reri Grist, soprano: Oscar. Ezio Flagello, bass: Samuel. Ferruccio Mazzoli, bass: Tom. Piero de Palma, tenor: A Judge. Fernando Iacopucci, tenor: A Servant of Amelia. Mario Basiola, baritone: Silvano. RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Erich Leinsdorf, conductor. Paint, Duel after a Masked Ball by Jean Leon Gerome
Un ballo in maschera - Paris 2007
Teco io sto - Jose Carreras & Montserrat Caballe - 1975
Maria Callas sings "Eri tu che macchiavi" (baritone aria from "Un Ballo in Maschera")
Maria Callas, master class at Juilliard
Giuseppe Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera
"Eri tu che macchiavi quell'anima" - Renato (baritone)
Student: Lenus Carlson
Thu, 24 Feb 1972
"La forza del destino" - 1862
La forza del destino (Italian pronunciation: [la ˈfɔrtsa del desˈtiːno]; The Power of Fate, often translated The Force of Destiny) is an Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on a Spanish drama, Don Álvaro o la fuerza del sino (1835), by Ángel de Saavedra, 3rd Duke of Rivas, with a scene adapted from Friedrich Schiller's Wallensteins Lager. It was first performed in the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of Saint Petersburg, Russia, on 22 November [O.S. 10 November] 1862.

La forza del destino is frequently performed, and there have been a number of complete recordings. In addition, the overture (to the revised version of the opera) is part of the standard repertoire for orchestras, often played as the opening piece at concerts.

Performance history

After some further revisions, performances in Rome in 1863 (as Don Alvaro) and Madrid (with the Duke of Rivas, the play's author, in attendance) followed shortly afterwards, and the opera subsequently travelled to New York and Vienna (1865), Buenos Aires (1866) and London (1867).

Verdi made other revisions, with additions by Antonio Ghislanzoni. This version, which premiered at La Scala, Milan, on 27 February 1869, has become the "standard" performance version. The most important changes were a new overture (replacing a brief prelude); the addition of a final scene to Act 3, following the duel between Carlo and Alvaro; and a new ending, in which Alvaro remains alive, instead of throwing himself off a cliff to his death.

Recent critical editions
Critical editions of all versions of the opera (including material from the original 1861 score) have been prepared by musicologist Philip Gossett of the University of Chicago.

In November 2005, the critical edition of the 1869 version was first performed by the San Francisco Opera whose program book included an essay by Gossett on the evolution of the various versions: 'La forza del destino': Three States of One Opera. The Caramoor International Music Festival gave a concert performance of the critical edition of the 1862 version, plus never-performed vocal pieces from the 1861 version, in July 2008.

Place: Spain and Italy
Time: around 1750


The music begins with the famous "Fate" Motif, an ominous three Es unison in the brass.

Act 1
The mansion of Leonora's family, in Seville

Don Alvaro is a young nobleman from South America (presumably Peru) who is part Indian and who has settled in Seville where he is not very well thought of. He falls in love with Donna Leonora, the daughter of the Marquis of Calatrava, who is determined that she shall marry only a man of the highest origin. Despite knowing her father’s aversion to Alvaro, Leonora is deeply in love with him, and determines to give up her home and country in order to elope with him. In this endeavor, she is aided by her confidante, Curra. (Me pellegrina ed orfana – "Exiled and orphaned far from my childhood home").

However, the Marquis unexpectedly enters and discovers Leonora and Alvaro together. He threatens Alvaro with death, but, in order to remove any suspicion as to Leonora’s purity, Alvaro surrenders himself. He flings down his pistol, which goes off and mortally wounds the Marquis who dies cursing his daughter.

Act 2
Scene 1: An inn in the village of Hornachuelos

The Alcalde, several peasant muleteers, and Don Carlo of Vargas, the brother of Donna Leonora, are gathered in the kitchen of an inn. Don Carlo, disguised as a student of Salamanca, under the fictitious name of Pereda, is seeking revenge against Alvaro and Leonora (Son Pereda son ricco d'onore – "I am Pereda, of honorable descent"). During the supper, Preziosilla, a young gypsy, tells the young men’s fortunes and exhorts them to enlist in the war (Al suon del tamburo – "When side drums rattle") for Italy’s freedom, which all agree to do. Having become separated from Alvaro, Leonora arrives in male attire, but slips away without being discovered by Carlo.

Scene 2: A monastery nearby

Leonora takes refuge in the monastery (Sono giunta! ... Madre, pietosa Vergine – "I've got here! Oh, thank God!") where she tells the abbot, Padre Guardiano, her true name and that she intends to spend the remainder of her life in a hermitage. The abbot recounts the trials she will have to undergo. Leonora, Padre Guardiano, Fra Melitone, and the other monks join in prayer.

Act 3
Scene 1: A forest near Velletri, in Italy

Meanwhile Don Alvaro has joined the Spanish army under the name of Don Federico Herreros (La vita è inferno all'infelice ... O tu che in seno agli angeli – "Life is a hell to those who are unhappy....Oh, my beloved, risen among the angels"). One night he saves the life of Don Carlo who is serving in the same army under the name of Don Felix Bornos. They become close friends and go into the Battle of Velletri (which occurred historically in 1744) side by side.

Scene 2: The officers' quarters

In one of these engagements Don Alvaro is, as he supposes, mortally wounded, and entrusts to Don Carlo’s care a valise containing a bundle of letters which he is to destroy as soon as Don Alvaro dies. (Solenne in quest'ora – "Swear to me, in this solemn hour"). Don Carlo has sworn not to look at the contents of the letters; but he becomes suspicious of his friend. (Morir! Tremenda cosa! ... Urna fatale del mio destino – "To die! What an awesome thought...Get away, fatal lot sent to my Destiny!"). He opens the valise, finds his sister’s picture, and realizes Alvaro's true identity. At that moment a surgeon brings word that Don Alvaro may recover. Don Carlo is overjoyed at the idea of avenging his father’s death.

Scene 3: A camp near the battleground

Alvaro, having recovered, is confronted by Carlo. They begin to duel but are pulled away from each other by the soldiers. As they restrain Carlo, the anguished Don Alvaro vows to enter a monastery.

The soldiers gather. Trabucco, the peddler, tries to sell them his wares; Fra Melitone chastises them for their godless ways; and Preziosilla leads them in a chorus in praise of the military life (Rataplan, rataplan, della gloria – "Rum-tum-tum on the drum is the music that makes a soldier's martial spirit rise").

Act 4
Scene 1: The monastery

Don Alvaro has entered the monastery at Hornachuelos, near which is Leonora’s cave, under the name of Father Raphael. Don Carlo arrives and forces him to fight (Le minacce, i fieri accenti – "May the winds carry off with them").

Scene 2: A desolate spot near Leonora's hermitage

Leonora prays that she may find peace in death (Pace, pace mio Dio! – "Peace, O mighty Father, give me peace!"). Alvaro runs in, calling for help, having mortally wounded Carlo in their duel. The two lovers recognize each other. Leonora runs offstage to see her brother, who, when she bends over him, stabs her in the heart. Leonora returns with Padre Guardiano; he and Alvaro pray to heaven as she dies.

[Original version: Overcome by the guilt at having killed or caused the death of all the Calatravas, Alvaro jumps to his death into the nearby ravine, cursing humankind, over the protests of Father Guardiano].

"Cursed" opera
Forza is an opera that many old school Italian singers felt was "cursed" and brought bad luck. The very superstitious Luciano Pavarotti avoided the part of Alvaro for this reason.

On 4 March 1960 at the Metropolitan Opera, in a performance of La Forza del Destino with Renata Tebaldi and tenor Richard Tucker, the American baritone Leonard Warren was about to launch into the vigorous cabaletta to Don Carlo's Act 3 aria, which begins "Morir, tremenda cosa" ("to die, a momentous thing"). While Rudolf Bing reports that Warren simply went silent and fell face-forward to the floor, others state that he started coughing and gasping, and that he cried out "Help me, help me!" before falling to the floor, remaining motionless. A few minutes later he was pronounced dead of a massive cerebral hemorrhage, and the rest of the performance was canceled. Warren was only 48.

The "Curse" prompted singers and others to do strange things to fend off possible bad luck. The great Italian tenor Franco Corelli was rumored to have held on to his crotch during some of his performances of the opera as "protection." Anthony Stivanello, a well-known Italian director from the 1950s–1980s who also provided sets and costumes to opera companies nationwide insisted that while he had the scenery and costumes for the opera, he would not touch them himself.

Other media
The musical score for the French films Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources uses the main theme for both. It was adapted by Jean-Claude Petit from the aria "Invano, Alvaro" in La forza del destino. The Korean film The Scarlet Letter opens with "Pace, pace mio Dio", introducing a film about intensely powerful obsession which brings its lovers to the brink of madness.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giuseppe Verdi - La Forza del Destino
La Forza del Destino, opera in 4 Acts. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. Based on the play "Don Alvaro, o la Fuerza del sino" by the Duke of Rivas. Leontyne Price, soprano: Donna Leonora di Vargas. Richard Tucker, tenor: Don Alvaro. Robert Merrill, baritone: Don Carlo di Vargas. Shirley Verrett, mezzo-soprano: Preziosilla. Giorgio Tozzi, bass: Padre Guardiano. Ezio Flagello, bass: Fra Melitone. Piero de Palma, tenor: Trabuco. Giovanni Foiani, bass: Marquis di Calatrava. Corinna Vozza, mezzo-soprano: Curra. Ron Bottcher, baritone: Mayor of Hornachuelos. Mario Rinaudo, baritone: A Surgeon. Luciana Marrapese, soprano: A Peasant Woman. Soldiers: Romano Truffelli, Camillo Sforza, Vito Jannizzotto, Claudio Piccini, Franco Ruta. RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Thomas Schippers, conductor.
Riccardo Muti "Overture" La Forza del Destino
Overture to La Forza del Destino
by Giuseppe Verdi
Philadelphia Orchestra
Riccardo Muti, conductor
Frankfurt, Alte Oper 1987
Montserrat Caballe " Pace, pace mio Dio" La forza del destino
Maria Callas "Pace, pace, mio Dio" La forza del destino Athens 1957
Jose Carreras- aria- La Forza del Destino
Verdi - La forza del destino - Aria di Leonora (Pace)
V Sochi International Winter Festival of Arts 2012

Soprano-Dinara Alieva
Conductor-Denis Vlasenko
New Russia State Symphony Orchestra

La Forza Del Destino, Duetto Luciano Montanaro (Padre Guardiano) Daniela Dessì (Leonora)
tratto dall opera di G. Verdi La forza del destino

duetto Luciano Montanaro, Daniela Dessì
"Chi mi cerca", "Il santo nome", "La Vergine degli angeli"
"Il santo nome"
"La vergine degli angeli"

"Don Carlos" -  1867
Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French-language libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, based on the dramatic play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien (Don Carlos, Infante of Spain) by Friedrich Schiller. In addition, it has been noted by David Kimball that the Fontainebleau scene and auto da fé "were the most substantial of several incidents borrowed from a contemporary play on Philip II by Eugène Cormon".

Given its premiere at the Salle Le Peletier on 11 March 1867, the opera's story is based on conflicts in the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias (1545–1568), after his betrothed Elisabeth of Valois was married instead to his father Philip II of Spain as part of the peace treaty ending the Italian War of 1551–1559 between the Houses of Habsburg and Valois. It was commissioned and produced by the Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (Paris Opera).

When performed in one of its several Italian versions, the opera is generally called Don Carlo. The first Italian version given in Italy was in Bologna in March 1867. Revised again by Verdi, it was given in Naples in November/December 1872. Finally, two other versions were prepared: the first was seen in Milan in January 1884 (in which the four acts were based on some original French text which was then translated). It is now known as the "Milan version". The second, also sanctioned by the composer, was the "Modena version" and presented in that city in December 1886. It added the "Fontainebleau" first act to the Milan four-act version.

Over the following twenty years, cuts and additions were made to the opera, resulting in a number of versions being available to directors and conductors. No other Verdi opera exists in so many versions. At its full length (including the ballet and the cuts made before the first performance), it contains about four hours of music and is Verdi's longest opera.

Composition history

Pre-première cuts and first published edition

Verdi made a number of cuts in 1866, after finishing the opera but before composing the ballet, simply because the work was becoming too long. These were a duet for Elisabeth and Eboli in act 4, scene 1; a duet for Carlos and the King after the death of Posa in act 4, scene 2; and an exchange between Elisabeth and Eboli during the insurrection in the same scene.

After the ballet had been composed, it emerged during the 1867 rehearsal period that, without further cuts, the opera would not finish before midnight (the time by which patrons would need to leave in order to catch the last trains to the Paris suburbs). Verdi then authorised some further cuts, which were, firstly, the introduction to act 1 (with a chorus of woodcutters and their wives, and including the first appearance of Elisabeth); secondly, a short entry solo for Posa (J'étais en Flandres) in act 2, scene 1; and, thirdly, part of the dialogue between the King and Posa at the end of act 2, scene 2.

The opera, as first published at the time of the première, consisted of Verdi's original conception, minus all of the above-named cuts but including the ballet.

Performance history
19th century
As Don Carlos in French

After the première and before leaving Paris, Verdi authorised the Opéra authorities to end act 4, scene 2 with the death of Posa (thus omitting the insurrection scene) if they thought fit. After his departure, further (unauthorised) cuts were apparently made during the remaining performances. It appears to have been a "problem opera" for the Opéra, and it disappeared from the repertoire after 1869.

Title page of a libretto for performances at the Teatro Pagliano in Florence in April–May 1869 which used the Italian translation by Achille de Lauzières

As Don Carlo in an Italian translation
It was common practice at the time for most theatres (other than those in French-speaking communities) to perform operas in Italian, and an Italian translation of Don Carlos was prepared in the autumn of 1866 by Achille de Lauzières. On 18 November 1866 Verdi wrote to Giovanni Ricordi, offering the Milan publisher the Italian rights, but insisting that the opera:

must be performed in its entirety as it will be performed for the first time at the Paris Opéra. Don Carlos is an opera in five acts with ballet: if nevertheless the management of Italian theatres would like to pair it with a different ballet, this must be placed either before or after the uncut opera, never in the middle, following the barbarous custom of our day.
However, the Italian translation was first performed not in Italy but in London at the Royal Italian Opera House, Covent Garden on 4 June 1867 (now the Royal Opera House), where it was produced and conducted by Michael Costa, but not as Verdi desired: it was in a cut and altered form. The first act was removed, the ballet in act 3 was omitted, and Carlo's aria Io la vidi (originally in act 1) was moved to act 3, just before the terzetto. The duet between Philip and the Inquisitor was shortened by four lines, and Elisabeth's aria in act 5 consisted only of part of the middle section and the reprise.

The production was initially considered a success, and Verdi sent a congratulatory note to Costa. Later when Verdi learned of the alterations, he was greatly irritated, but Costa's version anticipated revisions Verdi himself would make in 1882–83 (see below).

The Italian premiere on 27 October 1867 at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, conducted by Verdi's close friend Angelo Mariani, was an "instant success", and this version, although produced in Verdi's absence, was more complete and included the ballet. For the Rome premiere on 9 February 1868 at the Teatro Apollo, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Papal censor changed the Inquisitor into a Gran Cancelliere (Grand Chancellor) and the Monk/Emperor into a Solitario (Recluse).

This version of the opera was first performed in Milan at La Scala on 25 March 1868, and prestige productions in most other Italian opera houses followed, but it did not become a popular success. The length was a particular problem, and subsequent performances were generally heavily cut. The first production in Naples in 1871 was indisputably a failure.

Further revisions to the music and the text
Following the unsuccessful performance in Naples in 1871, Verdi was persuaded to visit the city for further performances in November / December 1872, and he made two more modifications to the score. These were additions to the scene for Posa and the King in act 2, scene 2 (Italian verses by Antonio Ghislanzoni) to replace some of the previously cut material. This is the only portion of the entire opera that was ever composed by Verdi to an Italian rather than a French text. In addition, there were cuts to the duet between Carlos and Elisabeth in act 5.

The 1882/83 and 1886 revisions: The "Milan version" and the "Modena version"
The idea of reducing the scope and scale of Don Carlos had originally come to Verdi in 1875, partly as a result of his having heard reports of productions, such as Costa's, which had removed act 1 and the ballet and introduced cuts to other parts of the opera. By April 1882, he was in Paris where he was ready to make changes. He was already familiar with the work of Charles-Louis-Étienne Nuitter, who had worked on French translations of Macbeth, La forza del destino and Aida with du Locle, and the three proceeded to spend nine months on major revisions of the French text and the music to create a four-act version. This omitted act 1 and the ballet, and was completed by March 1883. An Italian translation of this revised French text, re-using much of the original 1866 translation by de Lauzières, was made by Angelo Zanardini (it). The La Scala première of the 1883 revised version took place on 10 January 1884 in Italian.

Although Verdi had accepted the need to remove the first act, it seems that he changed his mind and allowed a performance which presented the "Fontainebleau" first act along with the revised four-act version. It was given in 29 December 1886 in Modena, and has become known as the "Modena version", which was published by Ricordi as "a new edition in five acts without ballet".

20th century and beyond
In Italian

Performances of Don Carlo in the first half of the twentieth century were rare, but in the post Second World War period it has been regularly performed, particularly in the four-act 1884 "Milan version" in Italian. Following the notable 1958 staging[ of the 1886 five-act "Modena version" in Italian by The Royal Opera company, Covent Garden, directed by Luchino Visconti and featuring Jon Vickers as Don Carlo, Tito Gobbi as Posa, Boris Christoff as King Phillip and Gré Brouwenstijn as Elisabetta, this version has increasingly been performed elsewhere and has been recorded by, among others, Georg Solti and Carlo Maria Giulini. Charles Mackerras conducted this five-act version (complete with Verdi's original prelude, the woodcutters' scene and the original ending) in an English translation for English National Opera at the London Coliseum in 1975.

Today, as translated into Italian and presented in the Milan and Modena versions, the opera has become part of the standard repertory.

In French

Stagings and broadcasts of the original five-act French version of the opera have become more frequent in the later 20th and into the 21st century, although they do not come anywhere near to equaling the number given in Italian. This is evidenced by the number of recordings of live and recorded performances.

A radio broadcast by ORTF in France was given in 1967 with an almost totally French cast by it also included Matteo Manuguerra as Rodrigue. The BBC Concert Orchestra under John Matheson broadcast the opera in June 1973 with the roles of Don Carlos sung by André Turp, Philippe II by Joseph Rouleau, and Rodrigue by Robert Savoie. In a footnote, Julian Budden comments that "this was the first complete performance of what could be called the 1866 conception in French with the addition of the ballet."

La Scala presented it in 1970, featuring Plácido Domingo and Katia Ricciarelli, but with some major roles taken by Ruggero Raimondi as Philip, Leo Nucci as Rodrigue, and Nicolai Ghiaurov as Le Grand Inquisiteur. A performance of this version (but including the parts not performed in the first Paris première, while omitting the ballet "La Pérégrina"), was staged and conducted by Sarah Caldwell with the Opera Company of Boston in 1973. It featured John Alexander in the title role.

In November 1983, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels staged the work with Philippe II sung by Samuel Ramey. John Pritchard conducted performances at the San Francisco Opera in September 1986, the Elizabeth having been sung by Pilar Lorengar; The Théâtre du Châtelet again presented the work (which has been released on CD and DVD) in 1996 with Roberto Alagna as Don Carlos, José van Dam as Philippe, Thomas Hampson as Rodrigue, and the roles of Elizabeth de Valois and Eboli were sung by Karita Mattila and Waltraud Meier respectively. The production was repeated that same year in November with Nelly Miricioiu in the cast as Elizabeth.

The complete uncut French version was performed first at the Hamburg State Opera under Ingo Metzmacher in 2001, then the same production, directed by Peter Konwitschny, at the Staatsoper in Vienna in 2004 under Bertrand de Billy, on this occasion with Ramón Vargas in the title role (as filmed for DVD). San Francisco revived its production in 2003 with Marina Mescheriakova as Elizabeth and Violeta Urmana as Eboli. It was presented at the Liceu, Barcelona under Maurizio Benini in February 2007 with Franco Farina in the title role and bass Eric Halfvarson as Le Grand Inquisiteur.

Productions have been staged in Hamburg in December/January 2011/12 and again in January/February 2013. In April 2012 the Houston Grand Opera presented the five-act French version. Featured in the cast was Christine Goerke as Eboli, Andrea Silvestrelli as the King, and Samuel Ramey as the Le Grand Inquisiteur. It was also staged at the Rousse State Opera in Bulgaria in Spring 2013, apparently in French.

[This synopsis is based on the original five-act version composed for Paris and completed in 1866. Important changes for subsequent versions are noted in indented brackets. First lines of arias, etc., are given in French and Italian].

Act 1

[This act was omitted in the 1883 revision]
The Forest of Fontainebleau, France in winter

A prelude and chorus of woodcutters and their wives is heard. They complain of their hard life, made worse by war with Spain. Elisabeth, daughter of the King of France, arrives with her attendants. She reassures the people that her impending marriage to Don Carlos, Infante and son of Philip II, King of Spain, will bring the war to an end, and departs.

[This was cut before the Paris première and replaced by a short scene in which Elisabeth crosses the stage and hands out money to the woodcutters]
Carlos, coming out from hiding, has seen Elisabeth and fallen in love with her (Aria: "Je l'ai vue" / "Io la vidi"). When she reappears, he initially pretends to be a member of the Count of Lerma's delegation. She asks him about Don Carlos, whom she has not yet met. Before long, Carlos reveals his true identity and his feelings, which she reciprocates (Duet: "De quels transports poignants et doux" / "Di quale amor, di quanto ardor"). A cannon-shot signifies that peace has been declared between Spain and France. Thibault appears and gives Elisabeth the surprising news that her hand is to be claimed not by Carlos but by his father, Philip. When Lerma and his followers confirm this, Elisabeth is devastated but feels bound to accept, in order to consolidate the peace. She departs for Spain, leaving Carlos equally devastated.

Act 2
[This is act 1 in the 1883 revision]
Scene 1: The monastery of Saint-Just (San Jerónimo de Yuste) in Spain

The scene takes place some time after Philip II and Elisabeth are married. Monks pray for the soul of the former Emperor Charles V ("Carlo Quinto"). His grandson Don Carlos enters, anguished that the woman he loves is now his stepmother.

[In the 1883 revision, he sings a revised version of the aria "Je l'ai vue" / "Io la vidi", which was salvaged from the omitted first act but with some different music and different text to reflect his current situation. In the four act version he already knows that he cannot marry Elisabeth. In the original, when singing the aria, he was still expecting to marry her]
A monk resembling Carlo Quinto offers him eventual consolation of peace through God, an early herald of one of the opera's themes. Carlos greets his great friend Rodrigue, Marquis of Posa, who has just arrived from the oppressed land of Flanders (Aria: "J'étais en Flandres").

[This was cut during the pre-première rehearsals]
Posa asks for the Infante's aid on behalf of the suffering people there. Carlos reveals that he loves his stepmother. Posa is sympathetic but encourages him to leave Spain and go to Flanders. The two men swear eternal friendship (Duet: "Dieu, tu semas dans nos âmes" / "Dio, che nell'alma infondere"). King Philip and his new wife, with their attendants, enter also to do homage at Charles V's tomb, while Don Carlos laments his lost love.

Scene 2: A garden near Saint-Just

Princess Eboli sings the Veil Song ("Au palais des fées" / "Nel giardin del bello") about a Moorish King and an alluring veiled beauty that turned out to be his neglected wife. Elisabeth enters. Posa gives her a letter from France together, secretly, with a note from Don Carlos. At his urging (Aria: "L'Infant Carlos, notre espérance" / "Carlo ch'è sol il nostro amore"), Elisabeth agrees to see the Infante alone. Unaware of this relationship, Eboli infers that she, Eboli, is the one Don Carlos loves.

When they are alone, Don Carlos tells Elisabeth that he is miserable, and asks her to request Philip to send him to Flanders. She promptly agrees, provoking Carlos to renew his declarations of love, which she piously rejects. Don Carlos exits in a frenzy, shouting that he must be under a curse. The King enters and becomes angry because the Queen is alone and unattended. He orders the lady-in-waiting who was meant to be attending her, the Countess of Aremberg, to return to France, prompting Elizabeth to sing a sorrowful goodbye-aria. (Aria: "Oh ma chère compagne" / "Non pianger, mia compagna"). The King approaches Posa, with whose character and activism he is impressed, intent on rewarding him. Posa begs the King to stop oppressing the people of Flanders. The King calls Posa's idealism unrealistic and warns that the Grand Inquisitor is watching him; Philip nevertheless asks if he can grant Posa another request.

[This dialogue was revised three times by Verdi.]

Act 3

[This is act 2 in the 1883 revision]
Scene 1: Evening in the Queen's garden in Madrid

Elisabeth is tired, and wishes to concentrate on the following day's coronation of the King. To avoid the divertissement planned for the evening, she exchanges masks with Eboli, assuming that thereby her absence will not be noticed, and leaves.

[This scene was omitted from the 1883 revision]
[In the première, the ballet (choreographed by Lucien Petipa and entitled "La Pérégrina") took place at this point]
Don Carlos enters, clutching a note suggesting a tryst in the gardens. Although he thinks this is from Elisabeth, it is really from Eboli, to whom he mistakenly declares his love. When Eboli discloses her identity and that she now knows his secret - that he was expecting the Queen - Carlos is horrified. When Posa enters, she threatens to tell the King that Elisabeth and Carlos are lovers. Eboli only just escapes from being stabbed by Posa, on Carlos intervention, and exits in a vengeful rage. Just in case, Posa asks Carlos to entrust to him any sensitive political documents that he may have and, when Carlos agrees, they reaffirm their friendship.

Scene 2: In front of the Cathedral of Valladolid

Preparations are being made for an "Auto-da-fé", the public parade and burning of condemned heretics. While the people celebrate, monks drag the condemned to the woodpile. A royal procession follows, with the King addressing the populace. Don Carlos interrupts it by bringing forward six Flemish envoys, who plead with the King for their country's freedom. Although the people and the court are sympathetic, the King, supported by the monks, orders the deputies' arrest. Carlos draws his sword against the King. The King calls for help but the guards will not attack Don Carlos. Posa steps in and persuades Carlos to surrender his sword. The King uses it to dub Posa Duke, the woodpile is fired and, as the flames start to rise, a heavenly voice can be heard promising peace to the condemned souls.

Act 4
[This is act 3 in the 1883 revision]
Scene 1: Dawn in King Philip's study in Madrid

Alone, the King, in a reverie, laments that Elisabeth has never loved him, that his position means that he has to be eternally vigilant and – returning to a central theme – that he will only sleep properly when he is in his tomb in the Escorial (Aria: "Elle ne m'aime pas" / "Ella giammai m'amò"). The blind, ninety-year-old Grand Inquisitor is announced and shuffles into Philip's apartment. When the King asks if the Church will object to him putting his own son to death, the Inquisitor replies that the King will be in good company: God sacrificed His own son. The King questions such an extreme approach. However, undaunted, the Inquisitor demands that the King have Posa killed. The King refuses to kill his friend, whom he admires and likes, objecting to such wanton cruelty. However, the old monk reminds Philip that the Inquisition can take down any king; he has created and destroyed other rulers before. Somewhat taken aback, the King suggests the Grand Inquisitor forget about the past discussion. The latter replies "Peut-être" / "Forse!" – perhaps! – and leaves. In a moment of continuing high drama, Elisabeth enters, alarmed at the apparent theft of her jewel casket. However, the King produces it and points to the portrait of Don Carlos which it contains, accusing her of adultery. She protests her innocence but, when the King threatens her, she faints. In response to his calls for help, into the chamber come Eboli and Posa. Their laments of suspicion ("Maudit soit le soupçon infâme" / "Ah, sii maledetto, sospetto fatale"), cause the King to realise that he has wronged his wife. Posa then resolves to save Carlos, though it may mean his own death. Eboli feels remorse for betraying Elisabeth; the latter, recovering, expresses her despair.

[This quartet was revised by Verdi in 1883]
Elisabeth and Eboli are left together.

[Duet: "J'ai tout compris", was cut before the première]
Eboli confesses that not only did she steal the casket because she loved Carlos and that he had rejected her, but also because she has been the King's mistress. Elisabeth takes this in her stride and tells Eboli that she must go into exile or enter a convent. After she exits, Eboli curses the fatal pride that her beauty has bestowed on her, chooses the convent over exile and resolves to try and save Carlos from the Inquisition (Aria: "O don fatal" / "O don fatale").

Scene 2: A prison

Don Carlos has been imprisoned. Posa arrives to tell him that he will be saved but that he himself will have to die, incriminated by the politically sensitive documents which he had asked Carlos to entrust to him (Aria, part 1: "C'est mon jour suprême" / "Per me giunto è il dì supremo"). A shadowy figure appears and shoots Posa in the chest. As he dies, Posa tells Carlos that Elisabeth will meet him at Saint-Just the following day. He adds that he is content to die if his friend can save Flanders and rule over a happier Spain (Aria, part 2: "Ah, je meurs, l'âme joyeuse" / "Io morrò, ma lieto in core"). At that moment, Philip enters, offering his son freedom. Carlos repulses him for having murdered Posa. The King has not noticed that Posa is dead and cries out in sorrow.

[Duet: Carlos and the King- "Qui me rendra ce mort ?" /"Chi rende a me quest'uom" It was cut before the première and, following it, Verdi authorized its optional removal. The music was later re-used by Verdi for the Lacrimosa of his Messa da Requiem of 1874]
Bells ring as Elisabeth, Eboli and the Grand Inquisitor arrive. The crowd threatens the King, demanding the release of Carlos and, in the confusion, Eboli escapes with Carlos. Although the people are brave enough in the presence of the King, they are terrified by the Grand Inquisitor, instantly submitting to his angry command to quieten down and pay homage to Philip.

[After the première, some productions ended this act with the death of Posa. However, in 1883 Verdi provided a much shortened version of the insurrection, as he felt that otherwise it would not be clear how Eboli had fulfilled her promise to rescue Carlos]

Act 5

[This is act 4 in the 1883 revision]
The moonlit monastery of Yuste

Elisabeth kneels before the tomb of Charles V. She is committed to help Don Carlos on his way to fulfill his destiny in Flanders, but she herself longs only for death (Aria: "Toi qui sus le néant" / "Tu che le vanità"). Carlos appears and they say a final farewell, promising to meet again in Heaven (Duet: "Au revoir dans un monde où la vie est meilleure" / "Ma lassù ci vedremo in un mondo migliore").

[This duet was twice revised by Verdi]
Philip and the Grand Inquisitor enter. The King has submitted to the church's domination and declares that there will be a double sacrifice: Posa and Carlos. The Inquisitor confirms that the Inquisition will do its duty. A short summary trial follows, confirming Carlos's putative culpability.

[The trial was omitted in 1883]
Carlos, calling on God, draws his sword to defend himself against the Inquisitor's guards, when an old Monk suddenly emerges from the tomb of Charles V. He grabs Carlos by the shoulder, proclaiming that the turbulence of the world persists even in the Church; once again, we cannot rest except in Heaven. Philip and the Inquisitor recognize the Monk's voice as that of the King's father, former Emperor Carlo V. Everyone screams in shock and terror, whilst the Monk/former Emperor drags Carlos forcibly into the tomb and closes the entrance.

Strings: violins, violas, cellos, double basses
Woodwinds: piccolo (doubling on flute), 2 flutes, 2 oboes (2nd doubling on English horn), 2 clarinets, 4 bassoons, double bassoon
Brass: 4 horns, 3 cornets à pistons, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, cimbasso
Percussion: timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, bells in F-sharp and E-flat, tam-tam
Other: harp
On-stage: clarinet in D, 2 clarinets in A, 4 horns, 2 flugelhorns, 2 trumpets, bass flugelhorn, 3 trombones, bombardon, double bass, harmonium, harp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don Carlo, Renato Bruson, Placido Domingo, Opera, Giuseppe Verdi
Maria Callas, Tu che le vanità, Don Carlo, Giuseppe Verdi
Maria Callas-Elizaveta`s aria "Don Carlo". G. Verdi
Callas & Di Stefano in duet from Verdi's Don Carlo
Luciano Pavarotti. DON CARLO. VERDI. a mezzanotte, ai giardin della regina. duetto
Giuseppe Verdi. DON CARLO.
A mezzanotte, ai giardin della regina. duetto (Don Carlo - Eboli)
scena. terzetto (Carlo - Eboli - Rodrigo)

Filippo II. Samuel Ramey
Don Carlo. Luciano Pavarotti
Elisabetta di Valois. Daniela Dessì
Eboli. Luciana d'Intino
Rodrigo. Paolo Coni
Il Grande Inquisitore. Alexander Anisimov
Orchestra e coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milano
cond. Riccardo Muti

Luciano Pavarotti. Daniela Dessì. DON CARLO. VERDI. Io vengo a domandar.
Giuseppe Verdi. DON CARLO.
Atto secondo. duetto. Io vengo a domandar (Don Carlo - Elisabetta)

Filippo II. Samuel Ramey
Don Carlo. Luciano Pavarotti
Elisabetta di Valois. Daniela Dessì
Eboli. Luciana d'Intino
Rodrigo. Paolo Coni
Il Grande Inquisitore. Alexander Anisimov
Orchestra e coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milano
cond. Riccardo Muti

Luciano Pavarotti. Daniela Dessì. DON CARLO. VERDI. Finale. Ma lassù ci vedremo.
Giuseppe Verdi. DON CARLO.
Finale dell' opera. Ma lassù ci vedremo. Don Carlo - Elisabetta.

Filippo II. Samuel Ramey
Don Carlo. Luciano Pavarotti
Elisabetta di Valois. Daniela Dessì
Eboli. Luciana d'Intino
Rodrigo. Paolo Coni
Il Grande Inquisitore. Alexander Anisimov
Orchestra e coro del Teatro alla Scala, Milano
cond. Riccardo Muti

Vittorio Grigolo - Don Carlo - Verbier 2014
Giuseppe Verdi :Don Carlo
actes III et IV (Version en 4 actes, Milan 1884) 
Daniel HARDING | Conductor 
Vittorio Grigolo (Don Carlo)
Lianna Haroutounian (Elisabetta)
Daniela Barcellona (Eboli)
Alexey Markov Lucio Gallo(Rodrigo)
ldar Abdrazakov (Filippo II)
Mikhail Petrenko (L'Inquisitore)
Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann singing the final duet from DON CARLO
Anja Harteros (Elisabetta di Valois) and Jonas Kaufmann (Don Carlo) singing "È dessa! ... Un detto, un sol" from Giuseppe Verdi's DON CARLO

René Pape (Filippo II.)
Eric Halfvarson (L'Inquisitore)
Steven Humes (Il Frate/Voce di Carlo)

The Bavarian State Orchestra
Musical direction: Asher Fisch
Production, sets, costumes and lighting design: Jürgen Rose

Recorded live on January 22, 2012 at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich

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