Politics and religion are dangerously entwined in Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo. It is based on the 1787 play by Friedrich Schiller and was first performed at the Paris Opéra in 1867. Verdi made extensive revisions to the opera over the following 20 years. This production by Nicholas Hytner follows the five-act 1886 version – Verdi’s final revision of the work.
Don Carlo contains a host of vividly drawn characters, depicted through some of Verdi’s most complex music. The chilling Grand Inquisitor imposes his will in thunderous, dark-toned music, while the revolutionary Marquis of Posa sings a stirring duet with Don Carlos in praise of friendship and freedom. And in Eboli and Elizabeth, Verdi created two of his most sympathetic heroines. The Royal Opera’s staging provides a powerful backdrop, and conjures up the Renaissance grandeur of 16th-century France and Spain.
Elizabeth of Valois is promised in marriage to Don Carlos of Spain, as part of a peace treaty between the two kingdoms. They meet and fall in love – but no sooner have they declared their love than news comes that the terms of the treaty have changed: Elizabeth is to marry Carlos’s father Philip instead.
Elizabeth, now Carlos’s stepmother, loves him still, but is horrified by his declarations of love. The Grand Inquisitor urges King Philip to have Carlos executed for the sake of the faith and the stability of the kingdom. Carlos decides to flee. He meets Elizabeth one last time to bid farewell – but the Inquisitor’s forces descend upon them.
There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.