Don Carlo

Gianandrea Noseda conducts Verdi’s masterpiece
for the celebration of the Teatro Regio’s 40th anniversary

Teatro Regio, Thursday 11th April 2013 at 20:00

The most complex and monumental opera of Giuseppe Verdi, Don Carlo, will be staged at the Teatro Regio from 11th to 23rd April in a-four-act version composed by Verdi in 1884. With this opera, the Regio celebrates its fortieth rebirth anniversary, which took place on 10th April 1973. However, it was founded in 1740 and was destroyed by fire in 1936.

On the podium of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio is the Music Director of the Regio, Gianandrea Noseda, who has repeatedly directed this opera with charisma and energy. And on Sunday 28th April, at the end of performances in Turin, the Maestro Noseda, still directing the Orchestra and the Chorus of the Regio, will present the opera as a concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris which is the first leg of the tour taking the entire artistic complex of the Regio in the European capitals of music.

Don Carlo will be broadcast by RAI Radio3 on Saturday 13rd April at 20:00 and the production will become a DVD by Rai.

The production of Don Carlo has been organized with the support of Banca Fideuram a Supporting Partner of the Teatro Regio.

This edition of Don Carlo is by the director Hugo de Ana, who has also designed the sets and costumes. This production by the Teatro Regio, was staged for the first time in Turin in June 2006. The choreography is by Leda Lojodice and lights are by Sergio Rossi. Claudio Fenoglio is the Chorus Master.

The splendour of the golden Spanish baroque court will be made opaque by an atmosphere of darkness: the stage in shadows represents the context of authoritarian oppression in which the characters move. The deep hues, as explained by the maestro Noseda, are typical of Verdi's title: «The colours used in Don Carlo are all unique. The settings are either nocturnal or internal. There is rarely any light: the prison, the cloister, everything is dark and claustrophobic. And this is reflected in the experiences of the characters, all landlocked: the revolt has no outlet, love has no outlet, Filippo is undecided and friendship comes to a halt all of a sudden and nothing happens: making this a "contemporary" opera. When you are too attached to your own beliefs you just hurt yourself and nothing goes anywhere».

The genesis of such complex and peculiar opera was far from serene. Around 1864 Verdi had planned to abandon his job as a composer, but his retirement was just a vague project: in fact, when he received the request from Paris to write a new grand-opera, he could not refuse it and had received, as a result, a number of interesting proposals. The choice was not immediate. Verdi found it difficult to judge the feasibility of an opera based simply on a subject, the libretto was of fundamental importance. In the summer of 1865, the so expected libretto arrived, signed by François-Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle; it was inspired by the dramatic poem Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien by Friedrich Schiller. Schiller’s work had caught Verdi’s attention for many years yet without ever being fully convinced by it due to its intricacies. After a long and tiring job which had to be succumbed to cuts Don Carlos was finally on stage in 1867. Yet according to a statement by Verdi himself: it had not been a success as many regarded the opera as being too long and devoid of melody. In 1882, after much thought, Verdi decided to reduce the size of the opera leading to numerous shortenings and the suppression of the first act of the ballet. Many pages of exceptional beauty were cancelled, but the drama acquired essence and character. The new version of Don Carlo has four acts and is in Italian. It had its debut at La Scala in 1884 and it is this same version that the Teatro Regio will present. The setting is the sixteenth-century Spain, Don Carlo, Infant of Spain, is in despair because his father, King Filippo II, had married a woman with whom Don Carlo had fallen in love: Elizabeth of Valois.

As Massimo Mila wrote: «Verdi had never delved so much into the mysterious subtleties of the soul such as when he described guilty and suffocated love between Don Carlo and his young stepmother». To take Don Carlo away from despair, his friend Rodrigo, the Marquis of Posa, urges him to go to Flanders to defend the oppressed people from the harsh Spanish regime, Carlo agrees, but asks the Marquis to help him to bid farewell to the queen. Elizabeth agrees to see Don Carlo, an occasion where the young man renews his love promises but then he suddenly escapes. Don Carlo soon becomes paladin for the Flemish cause, but is then taken to the king who had accused him of treason. Don Carlo is sent him to jail and sentenced to death. The king, a man who bears both the weight of authority and solitude, found out about the love between his wife and his son. But then, Rodrigo proved the queen’s innocence and accepts the accusation of betrayal, sacrificing himself instead of his friend, Don Carlo. On the streets a revolt had erupted: the Spanish people urged to see Carlo out of prison. Filippo rushed to release his son, but Carlo refuses his father and leaves prison just to join the crowd. The infant, before fleeing from Flanders, met the queen to say goodbye one last time, and the two young lovers are surprised by the King and the Grand Inquisitor, who wished to condemn them to death, but the ghost of the Emperor Carlo V appears, taking Carlo away with him to eternal peace.

In the challenging role of Don Carlo is the Mexican Ramón Vargas, a tenor of rich timbre, applauded in theatres all over the world for his elegant and attentive expression. At his side, in the part of Elizabeth, there will be Barbara Frittoli, a soprano who over the years has emerged as a great interpreter of Verdi's heroines. Filippo II will be Ildar Abdrazakov, a Russian bass specialized in the Italian repertoire. He debuted last year in this same role, being enthusiastically applauded. The baritone Ludovic Tézier will play Rodrigo, the mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona is the Princess Eboli and the bass Marco Spotti will be the Grand Inquisitor.

Rouding out the cast: Roberto Tagliavini, Erika Grimaldi, Sonia Ciani, Dario Prola, Alejandro Escobar, Luca Casalin, Fabrizio Beggi, Antonio Di Matteo, Scott Johnson, Riccardo Mattiotto, Franco Rizzo and Marco Sportelli.

During the nine performances, the following cast will take turns in the leading roles: Alex Vicens (Don Carlo), Svetlana Kasyan (Elisabetta), Giacomo Prestia (Filippo II), Dalibor Jenis (Rodrigo), Anna Maria Chiuri (princess Eboli) and Aleksandr Vinogradov (the Grand Inquisitor).

Don Carlo will be presented to the public by Carlo Majer at the Incontro con l'Opera to take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 3rd April at 17:30.

A conference will be held on Wednesday 17th April at 17:00, as part of the initiative for the 40 years of the Teatro Regio, at the Sala Caminetto. The following speakers will attend the conference: Mario Tesini University of Parma (The conception of power in Verdi's Don Carlo), Anna Chiarloni University of Turin (The language of the heart in Alfieri and Schiller) and Pier Paolo Portinaro University of Turin (Philip and the Grand Inquisitor). This conference is organized in collaboration with the University of Turin - Department of Political Studies.

The première of Don Carlo, coupled with the shift A, will take place on Thursday 11th April at 20:00 instead of Wednesday 10th April. Season ticket holders are requested to check dates and times of the performance referring to their season ticket on the Teatro Regio.

Teatro Regio box office: Piazza Castello 215 - Tel 011.8815.241/242 - e-mail: For more information call 011.8815.557 or go to

Turin 27th March 2013