Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: Don Carlo 

Radio Broadcast of Saturday, March 9, 11:00 A.M.

Broadcast Don Carlo HDL 313
In the Queen's garden, Filippo confronts Elisabetta (Furlanetto, Marina Poplavskaya as Elisabetta)
© Beth Bergman 2013
The 2012–13 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by 
Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®, with generous long-term support from 
The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation,
the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media,
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Don Carlo

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by François Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, after the play by Friedrich Schiller 
Italian version by Achille de Lauzières and Angelo Zanardini
THE CAST     (in order of vocal appearance)
Don Carlo     tenor, RAMÓN VARGAS
Tebaldo     soprano, JENNIFER HOLLOWAY
Elisabetta     soprano, BARBARA FRITTOLI
Count Lerma     tenor, EDUARDO VALDES
Friar     bass, MIKLÓS SEBESTYÉN
Rodrigo     bar., DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY
Eboli     mezzo, ANNA SMIRNOVA
Filippo II     bass, FERRUCCIO FURLANETTO
     baritone, ALEXEI LAVROV
 bass, PAUL CORONA
Flemishbass, ERIC JORDAN
Deputiesbass-bar., EVAN HUGHES
 baritone, JOSHUA BENAIM
     bass-bar., DAVID CRAWFORD
Celestial Voice     soprano, JENNIFER CHECK
Grand Inquisitor     bass, ERIC HALFVARSON

Conducted by LORIN MAAZEL

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

Production: Nicholas Hytner
Set and costume designer: Bob Crowley
Lighting designer: Mark Henderson
Stage director: J. Knighten Smit
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Joan Dornemann,
     Paul Nadler, Lydia Brown,
     Natalia Katyukova
Movement coach: Sara Erde
Assistant stage directors: Sara Erde,
     Stephen Pickover
Prompter: Joan Dornemann
Stage band conductor: Gregory Buchalter
Fight director: Rick Sordelet
Italian coach: Loretta Di Franco

Production a gift of
     Mr. and Mrs. William R. Miller

Revival a gift of
     The Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation
A coproduction of the Metropolitan Opera;
    Royal Opera House, Covent Garden;
    and the Norwegian National Opera &
    Ballet

THE SCENES  Timings (ET)
ACT IFontainebleau Forest 11:00–
ACT II  
    Sc. 1Monastery of St. Just 
    Sc. 2Monastery garden–12:36
ACT III 1:08–1:44
    Sc. 1Queen's garden 
    Sc. 2Plaza outside cathedral 
ACT IV 2:13–
    Sc. 1King's study 
    Sc. 2Prison 
ACT VMonastery of St. Just–3:37

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel, 
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park
 
For more information on the broadcasts,
    please visit www.operainfo.org.
 
Send quiz questions to:
    Metropolitan Opera Quiz
    Metropolitan Opera
    30 Lincoln Center
    New York, NY 10023
    or e-mail metquiz@metopera.org 
 
This performance is also being broadcast
    live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on
    SiriusXM channel 74.

THE STORY 

ACT I. In the royal forest of Fontainebleau, woodcutters and their families gather around a bonfire, lamenting the winter and the war with Spain that have reduced them to poverty and misery. A hunting party from the palace arrives, including Princess Elisabeth of Valois (Elisabetta), daughter of the King of France. She asks the people to have courage, promising that a peace treaty is being signed and that conditions will improve. She leaves with the hunting party.

Don Carlo, the Crown Prince of Spain, emerges from the forest into the now empty clearing. He has caught a glimpse of Elisabetta, his betrothed, and loves her on sight. Elisabetta and her page Tebaldo appear, lost and separated from the other hunters. Don Carlo, unrecognized, salutes her and offers his protection. She sends Tebaldo away. Revealing his love, Don Carlo gives her a miniature portrait of himself, and she realizes that the stranger is her promised groom. They briefly rejoice over their love, which will bring peace to Europe. A cannon shot is heard, signaling the signing of the treaty. Tebaldo returns with a party of courtiers, saluting Elisabetta as Queen of Spain, bride of King Philip II (Filippo). Elisabetta corrects Tebaldo, saying that she is to marry the Crown Prince, not the King. But the page insists that the treaty specifies otherwise, pending Elisabetta's acceptance of the offer. Urged by the starving people to end their suffering, Elisabetta reluctantly accepts, and she and Don Carlo mourn their doomed love while the people rejoice over the end of the war.

ACT II. At the monastery of St. Just in Spain, Don Carlo prays at the tomb of the Emperor Charles V, his grandfather and Filippo's father. From the shadows of the cloister, a mysterious monk warns of the vanities of the world. Don Carlo thinks the voice is that of the Emperor, and indeed some say the Emperor's ghost wanders this place. Don Carlo meets his friend Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, newly returned from Flanders, where the people suffer under Spanish domination. When Don Carlo admits he is still in love with Elisabetta, Rodrigo urges him to fight for the Flemish cause. The two men pledge friendship to the death as Filippo and Elisabetta pass to pray at the Emperor's tomb.

In a neighboring garden, Princess Eboli, the Countess of Aremberg, and the other ladies of the court entertain themselves. Eboli sings a Moorish song accompanied by Tebaldo. The queen returns from the monastery, and Rodrigo enters to give her a secret letter from Don Carlo, asking for a meeting. Elisabetta agrees to receive him, and Don Carlo is shown in as the ladies and Rodrigo withdraw. Don Carlo asks the queen to obtain Filippo's permission for him to go to Flanders and then suddenly declares his continuing love. Elisabetta breaks free of Don Carlo's embrace, and he runs away. The King enters the garden with his suite and, finding the queen unattended, banishes the Countess of Aremberg, who should have been present. Elisabetta consoles the banished countess, and she and the ladies leave.

The king orders Rodrigo to remain when the others depart, and Rodrigo bravely denounces the situation of Spanish oppression in Flanders. Filippo, impressed by Rodrigo's idealism, chooses him as a royal advisor and confides that he needs someone to watch over Don Carlo and Elisabetta, whom he suspects of betrayal. Rodrigo accepts the royal confidence, and Filippo warns him to beware the Grand Inquisitor.

Broadcast Don Carlo hdl 2 313
Rodrigo pleads with Filippo at the auto-da-fé (Layla Claire as Tebaldo, Furlanetto, Simon Keenlyside as Rodrigo, Poplavskaya)
© Beth Bergman 2013

ACT III. Eboli, who mistakenly believes that Don Carlo loves her, has written a letter to him asking him to meet her secretly. Thinking the note is from the queen, Don Carlo awaits her arrival in the palace gardens. When Eboli enters, heavily veiled, Don Carlo declares his love, but when she unveils, both realize their mistake. Eboli accuses Don Carlo of loving the queen. Rodrigo comes upon them, and, grasping the situation, tries to placate Eboli. She runs from the garden swearing to expose Don Carlo and Elisabetta. To protect the prince, Rodrigo takes his incriminating papers.

In the plaza before the Cathedral of Our Lady of Atocha in Madrid, an immense crowd waits for Filippo and an auto-da-fé, a burning of heretics. Filippo emerges from the cathedral with the queen and is greeted by six Flemish deputies, led by Don Carlo. They are joined by the court and the people in begging for the king's mercy for the rebellious province, but friars insist on severe punishment. Don Carlo draws his sword on his father, who orders him disarmed. Don Carlo surrenders his sword to Rodrigo and is arrested for treason, while Rodrigo is made a duke on the spot. A group of heretics is led to the stake, and a celestial voice welcomes their souls into heaven.

ACT IV. Filippo spends a sleepless night in his study, reflecting on affairs of state and on his inability to make his wife love him. He consults with the Grand Inquisitor, who upbraids the king for allowing heretical ideas to creep into Spain. The Inquisitor consents to a death sentence for Don Carlo and insists Rodrigo be handed over to the Inquisition as well. As the ancient priest leaves, Filippo wonders if the throne must always yield before the altar.

Elisabetta bursts in, crying that her jewel box has been stolen. Filippo hands it to her and demands she open it. When she hesitates, he breaks it open and finds the portrait of Don Carlo. He accuses her of adultery. The queen faints, and Filippo calls for aid. Eboli and Rodrigo rush in, Rodrigo expressing amazement that this king who rules half the world cannot govern his own emotions. Rodrigo realizes that it is time to sacrifice himself for Don Carlo and the good of the nation. After the men have left, Eboli confesses that it was she who stole Elisabetta's jewel case, out of jealousy over Don Carlo, and gave it to the King. She then admits that she has been the King's mistress. Elisabetta banishes Eboli from Spain. The princess laments her fatal beauty and swears to spend her final day in Spain trying to save Don Carlo.

In Don Carlo's prison, Rodrigo says goodbye to his friend and tells him that Elisabetta will meet him one last time at St. Just. When a shot rings out, Rodrigo falls, mortally wounded. As he dies, he urges Don Carlo to save Flanders and be a new light for Spain. Filippo enters and returns Don Carlo's sword, but Don Carlo accuses him of Rodrigo's murder. The citizens storm the prison, demanding Don Carlo's release, and the disguised Eboli urges him to flee. The Grand Inquisitor appears and commands the rebellious crowd to kneel in obedience before Filippo.

ACT V. At the monastery of St. Just, Elisabetta waits for Don Carlo and prays at the Emperor's tomb. Don Carlo enters, and she inspires him to continue Rodrigo's quest for freedom in Flanders. They vow that their love will be rewarded in heaven, but Filippo interrupts them, accompanied by agents of the Inquisition. Filippo and the Inquisitor think they hear the voice of the dead Emperor, and the mysterious monk opens a gate and draws Don Carlo into the protective shadows of the cloister.  

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Elisabetta and Don Carlo, above (Poplavskaya, Roberto Alagna as Don Carlo)
© Beatriz Schiller 2013

Broadcast Don Carlo lg 313
Ferruccio Furlanetto as Filippo II in
Nicholas Hytner's production of Don
Carlo
at the Metropolitan Opera

© Beth Bergman 2013

THE BACKGROUND 

Commissioned by the Paris Opera, Don Carlos (in Italian, Don Carlo) was written with an eye to the tastes of the French capital. Verdi compressed the work when he revised it for Italy in the early 1880s. Shorn of its opening act, which made the political climate clear and depicted Carlo's first meeting with Elisabetta, the revision begins and ends at the cloister of St. Just. Later, the composer authorized a five-act Italian version, including the Fontainebleau scene. The librettists, Joseph Mry, who died shortly after starting it in 1865, and Camille du Locle based their text on a drama (1787) by Friedrich Schiller, who drew upon a French novel (1673) by the Abbé Saint-Ral.

The Paris premiere, on March 11, 1867, was not a great success. The work did not come into its own until the revised version reached La Scala on January 10, 1884. Don Carlo arrived in New York at the Academy of Music on April 12, 1877, but did not receive its Met premiere until December 23, 1920, conducted by Gennaro Papi. The Met's first Don Carlo was directed by Samuel Thewman and designed by Joseph Urban. In its first season, Thewman's staging included the Fontainebleau scene as well as the Act III ballet, La Pérégrina, although the Act IV interview between Filippo and the Grand Inquisitor was cut. The Fontainebleau scene was dropped by the Met in 1922, but the Grand Inquisitor scene was restored in the 1922-23 season, when Feodor Chaliapin sang three performances as Filippo opposite the Inquisitor of Léon Rothier.

On November 6, 1950, Rudolf Bing inaugurated his tenure as the Met's general manager with a new Don Carlo staging by Margaret Webster that omitted the Fontainebleau scene and the Act III ballet, and which remained in the Met repertory until 1972.

James Levine led the first performance of the Met's next Don Carlo production, directed by John Dexter, on February 5, 1979. The Dexter staging restored the Fontainebleau scene to Met Don Carlo performances.

The Met's current Don Carlo staging, directed by Nicholas Hytner, arrived on November 22, 2010, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR 

Among Verdi biographies, Mary Jane Phillips-Matz's study of the composer (Oxford) retains its primacy. Julian Budden's The Operas of Verdi, Volume 3: From Don Carlos to Falstaff is the most thorough of the standard reference works. Schiller's Don Carlos is available in paperback (World Classics, with Mary Stuart).

On CD, Carlo Maria Giulini's electric leadership of Luchino Visconti's 1958 Don Carlo production at Covent Garden, with Vickers, Browenstijn, Gobbi and Christoff its highly individual principals, is preserved on Myto; Giulini fields an equally vivid cast, with Domingo, Caballé, Verrett and Milnes among its glories, on his studio recording for EMI. Domingo also takes the title role in Claudio Abbado's fluid French-language Don Carlos (DG). Ferruccio Furlanetto is a trimly aristocratic Filippo II, Samuel Ramey an appropriately sepulchral Grand Inquisitor on James Levine's beautifully shaded Don Carlo with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (Sony).

On DVD, Nicholas Hytner's staging, shared by Covent Garden and the Met, is available in a 2008 performance from London. John Dexter's 1979 Metropolitan Opera production reveals the opera's epic sweep under Levine's sympathetic leadership (Pioneer). Luc Bondy's revelatory Châtelet production of Don Carlos, with Mattila, Alagna, Hampson and van Dam all in superb form under the baton of Antonio Pappano, is available in DVD and CD incarnations from EMI. spacer 

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