Elijah Moshinsky is back in town, in Melbourne, where it all began. Responsible for the most insightful and beautiful productions presented by Opera Australia in the ‘80s and ‘90s which are still the backbone of its repertoire, Moshinsky is here to revive his 1999 production of Verdi’s Don Carlos. Actually, he prefers to say he is ‘reinventing’ it, believing it not to have been a success originally, now determined that his life experience will fuel a success now.
Don Carlos is the grandest of Verdi’s grand operas. Composed in 1867, it was based largely on a play by Friedrich von Schiller who, with his friend Goethe, was an invaluable source of inspiration to opera composers.
Depicting the private passions behind great events, it tells the story of the marriage between Phillip II of Spain and his third wife Princess Elizabeth de Valois, which brought peace between France and Spain but didn’t do a lot for family relations because Phillip’s son Carlos had expected to marry and was in love with Elizabeth. More complications: the King’s mistress Princess Eboli is secretly in love with Carlos; he has a great friend, Rodrigo the Count of Posa. Dominating all is the Grand Inquisitor, a perfect focus for Verdi’s anti-clericalism; indeed the dramatic highpoint is the auto-da-fe scene with the burning of heretics. This grand opera needs grand singing which it may get in Opera Australia’s production opening in Melbourne on May 20 and Sydney on July 14. It should look good.
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