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Giuseppe Verdi

Don Carlos

Librettist: (French) François Joseph Méry and Carmille du Locle
Based on Friedrich Schiller's play Don Carlos
Plays in Five acts.

Cast of Characters

  • Elisabetta di Valois, (soprano) Later Queen of Spain
  • Princess Eboli, (mezzo-soprano) her lady-in-waiting
  • Voice from Heaven, (Soprano
  • Tebaldo, (soprano) a page
  • Countess Aremberg, (Mime
  • Don Carlos, (tenor) Filippo's son
  • Rodrigo Marquis of Posa, (baritone) his friend
  • Filippo II, (bass) King of Spain
  • The Grand Inquisitor, (bass)
  • A Friar, (bass)
  • Count Lerma, (Tenor
  • Courtiers, nobles, monks, Flemish deputies, inquisitors, soldiers, magistrates and populace.


Sixteenth Century France and Madrid Spain.


French: 11th March 1867; Académie Impériale de Musique, Paris, France.


Don Carlos is a story of love lost and love unrequited. Don Carlos and Elisabeth are set to be married when Filippo, Don Carlos' father, decides to take her himself. Elisabeth cannot refuse the request and for to do so would mean continuing the horrible war her country is involved in with Spain. Don Carlos refuses to give up his love of her. Filippo realizes this and tries to enlist the help of Rodrigo in keeping tabs on Carlos and his new wife. Princess Eboli is also in love with Don Carlos who has no interest in her. She plots to turn Don Carlos' indifference to love. In the background, the Spanish Inquisition is occurring with all the struggles between Church and State.

Memorable sections of music

De quels transports poignants et doux
Dieu, tu semas dans nos âmes un rayon
O ma chè compagne

Act III, Scene I Trio: Rien! Vous fuyez en vain ma fureur
the auto-da-fé
Elle ne m'aime pas
O don fatal
C'est mon jour, mon jour suprème
Toi qui sus le néant des grandeurs de ce monde
Oui, ce sont là l'héroïsonie

Copyright © 1996, Stephen L. Parker.