Production by David McVicar
Saturday we viewed the live HD performance of the French version of Verdi's Don Carlos. This opera seems to be attempting to imitate reality, so perhaps a little reality is required. This is a calendar of historical events related to the life of Philip II of Spain.
|Philip marries Anna of Austria
From this we see that Carlos and Elisabeth were about the same age and died at about the same time. Philip was already King of Spain for three years before he married Elisabeth of Valois. So it is unlikely that his coronation took place after he married Elisabeth.
The plot begins when Carlos, who believes he will marry Elisabeth, wishes to meet his future wife and tracks her to the Forest of Fontainebleau, France. They meet and fall in love. By the end of the scene a political agreement has been reached offstage, and Carlos and Elisabeth find that she is to marry Carlos' father Philip. This is the context for the rest of the opera, so the story doesn't make much sense if this scene is omitted.
I thought this was a brilliantly and beautifully executed performance. The story felt right, perhaps for the first time. This is the most I have liked Sonya Yoncheva whose performance shaped the drama. I never felt a desire to go home early because it was all so fascinating.