Don Carlos

In four acts by VERDI.


This opera is one of the first of Verdi's. It was half forgotten, when

being suddenly recalled to the stage it met with considerable success.

The music is fine and highly dramatic in many parts.

The scene of action lies in Spain. Don Carlos, Crown-prince of Spain

comes to the convent of St. Just, where hi
grand-father, the Emperor

Charles the Fifth has just been buried. Carlos bewails his separation

from his step-mother, Elizabeth of Valois, whom he loves with a sinful

passion. His friend, the Marquis Posa reminds him of his duty and

induces him to leave Spain for Flanders, where an unhappy nation sighs

under the cruel rule of King Philip's governors.--Carlos has an

interview with the Queen, but beside himself with grief he again

declares his love, though having resolved only to ask for her

intervention with the King, on behalf of his mission to Flanders.

Elizabeth asks him to think of duty and dismisses him. Just then her

jealous husband enters, and finding her lady of honor, Countess

Aremberg, absent, banishes the latter from Spain. King Philip favors

Posa with his particular confidence, though the latter is secretly the

friend of Carlos, who is ever at variance with his wicked father. Posa

uses his influence with the King for the best of the people, and

Philip, putting entire confidence in him, orders him to watch his wife.

The second act represents a fete in the royal gardens at Madrid, where

Carlos mistakes the Princess Eboli for the Queen and betrays his

unhappy love. The Princess, loving Carlos herself, and having nurtured

hopes of her love being responded to, takes vengeance. She possesses

herself of a casket in which the Queen keeps Carlos' portrait, a

love-token from her maiden-years, and surrenders it to Philip. The

King, though conscious of his wife's innocence, is more than ever

jealous of his son, and seeks for an occasion to put him out of the

way. It is soon found, when Carlos defies him at an autodafe of

heretics. Posa himself is obliged to deprive Carlos of his sword, and

the latter is imprisoned. The King has an interview with the

Grand-Inquisitor, who demands the death of Don Carlos, asserting him to

be a traitor to his country. As Philip demurs, the priest asks Posa's

life as the more dangerous of the two. The King, who never loved a

human being except Posa, the pure-hearted Knight, yields to the

power of the church.

In the following scene Elizabeth, searching for her casket, is accused

of infidelity by her husband. The Princess Eboli, seeing the trouble

her mischievous jealousy has brought upon her innocent mistress,

penitently confesses her fault and is banished from court. In the last

scene of the third act Carlos is visited by Posa, who explains to him,

that he has only imprisoned him in order to save him, and that he has

announced to the King, that it was himself, Posa, who excited rebellion

in Flanders. While they speak, Posa is shot by an arquebusier of the

royal guard; Philip enters the cell to present his sword to Carlos, but

the son turns from his father with loathing and explains his friend's

pious fraud. While Philip bewails the loss of the best man in Spain,

loud acclamations are heard from the people, who hearing that their

prince is in danger desire to see him.

In the last act the Queen, who promised Posa to watch over Carlos,

meets him once more in the convent of St. Just. They are surprised by

the King, who approaches, accompanied by the Grand-Inquisitor, and into

his hands the unhappy Carlos is at last delivered.