This vast piece concerns the terrible consequences of an arranged marriage, and is set against the suspicious and turbulent 16th-century Spain. Elizabeth of Valois is betrothed to Don Carlos of Spain, as part of a peace treaty between their two kingdoms, and when, upon meeting, they fall in love, it seems like the perfect match. But then the terms of the treaty change: Elizabeth is to marry Carlos’s father, Philip I, instead.
Carlos’s situation is now perilous: his lover is now his step-mother, and she is both attracted and repelled by his unflinching love. The Grand Inquisitor presses for his execution, and Carlos decides to flee. But before he leaves, he risks one last meeting with Elizabeth …
Verdi’s colossal score is characterised by its terrifying motif heralding the Grand Inquisitor. Seldom does music contain such terrifyingly expressive imagery, and Verdi is uncompromising in the pictures he draws of flawed church and state.
The American tenor Bryan Hymel, who made his Royal Opera debut in 2010 as Don José in Bizet's Carmen, sings the title role. Elizabeth is sung by the Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, whose previous Covent Garden roles incude Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème in 2002, and Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.
The Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, Olga in the ROH’s Eugene Onegin and Azucena in Il Trovatore, sings Princess Eboli. Possibly the most petrifying figure in all opera, the Grand Inquisitor is sung by the Georgian bass Paata Burchuladze, who brings to the role the weight of his experience as a Covent Garden regular for more than three decades.
Bob Crowley created the original design and the opera is conducted by Bertrand de Billy.
Don Carlo is sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Booking for the general public opens at 9am on 24 Jan 2017. Click here for more details and for links to priority booking schemes.
|What||Don Carlo, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
12 May 17 – 29 May 17, five evening performances; matinee 3pm 29 May
|Price||£11 - £245|
|Website||Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets|