Don Carlos 3

To Don Carlos for the third time on Saturday night.

The house was pretty well full – a marked improvement on my first two attendances. It would be good to think that word can actually get around. I met someone who enthusiastically told me he was there for his fifth time.

Early in the opera, Carlos and his stepmother, Elisabetta, meet alone for the first time since Elisabetta, whom Carlos was originally destined to marry, instead became the Philip II’s queen. Carlos declares his love for Elisabetta and finally succeeds in goading Elisabetta into expressing her true feelings for him which up to then she has held back on out of loyalty to her marital duty. She blurts out: “Kill your father!” I don’t think that’s actually in the play (in the play E says that Carlos can sleep with her once his father is dead) and I don’t think she entirely means in the opera that he should actually do so. 

In both, Carlos says that in that case he is accursed/in a pretty pickle. In the opera he then leaves Elisabetta alone on stage for one of those scene-concluding Verdian soprano swoops from high to lowish:

Don Carlos score extract

This was a memorable moment.

Not least because of a disagreement in the pit about the timing of the final chord.

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