VERDI: Don Carlo

First Performance: 11 March 1867 at the OpÈra, Paris. Revised version 10 January 1884 at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

Principal Characters:
Philip II, King of Spain Bass
Rodrigue/Rodrigo, Marquis of Pisa Baritone
Don Carlos/Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Tenor
The Grand Inquisitor Bass
Elisabeth de Valois, Philip’s queen Soprano
Princess Eboli, Elisabeth’s lady-in-waiting Mezzo-Soprano
Thibault, Eisabeth’s page Soprano
The Countess of Aremberg Silent role
The Count of Lerma Tenor
An Old Monk Bass
A Voice from Heaven Soprano
A Royal Herald Tenor
Flemish Deputies Basses
Inquisitors Basses

Setting: France and Spain, about 1560


Act I

Summary: Don Carlo, the heir to the throne of Spain, is in love with his young stepmother, Elisabeth of Valois. His friend Rodrigo, the Marquis of Posa, attempts to distract him and begs him to take steps on behalf of the oppressed Low Countries. Carlos asks Elisabeth to intervene with the King, Philip II. Carlos then gives his emotions free rein, at which Elisabeth reproves him, even though she loves him also. Carlos flees. The King arrives and is furious that he finds the Queen alone. Rodrigo pleads for the Low Countries with the King, but Philip tells him of his worries about Elisabeth and Carlos.


Part 1
Carlo il sommo Imperatore Male Chorus
Io la vidi e al suo sorriso Don Carlo
Scena: Il duolo della terra Don Carlo, Monk
Mio salvator (Duet) Don Carlo, Rodrigo
Tristo me! (Duet) Don Carlo, Rodrigo
Dio, che nell’alma (Duet) Don Carlo, Rodrigo, Mon, Male Chorus
Sotto ai folti Female Chorus
Nei giardin del bello (Song of the Veil) Eboli, Tebaldo, Female Chorus
Chi mai si fa Elisabeth, Eboli, Rodrigo, Female Chorus
Carlo ch’ Ë sol il nostro amore Elisabeth, Eboli, Rodrigo
Part 2
Io vengo a domandar (Duet) Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Perduto ben, mio sol tesor (Duet) Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Qual voce a me (Duet) Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Il Re! (Scena) Tebaldo, Philip, Chorus
Non pianger, mia compagna (Romanza) Elisabeth, Rodrigo, Philip, Female Chorus
Restate! (Duet) Philip, Rodrigo
Ah! sia benedetto Iddio (Duet) Philip, Rodrigo
Quest’ Ë la pace (Duet) Philip, Rodrigo
Il lor destin (Duet) Philip, Rodrigo

Act II

Summary: It is evening.Carlos has received an anonymous letter and is waiting for the Queen in the garden. The letter’s writer was the princess Eboli, who is also in love with him. Carlos reveals that he loves Elisabeth and rejects Eboli, who swears vengeance. Rodrigo asks Carlos to entrust any incriminating documents concerning the Low Countries that he might possess to him. An auto-da-fÈ is about to begin; deputies from the Low Countries approach and beg the King for aid. He sends them away, at which Carlos draws his sword and demands to be sent to the Low Countries. Rodrigo disarms him. Philip creates Rodrigo a duke and has Carlo arrested.


Part 1
Prelude Orchestra
A mezza note Don Carlo
Sei tu, sei tu Don Carlo, Eboli
V’ Ë ignoto forse Don Carlo, Eboli, Rodrigo
Al mio furor Don Carlo, Eboli, Rodrigo
Trema per te, falso figliuolo Don Carlo, Eboli, Rodrigo
Part 2
Gran finale (Auto de FÈ)
Spuntato ecco il di Chorus
Il di spunto Monks (Male Chorus)
Spuntato ecco il di Chorus
Schiusa or si la porta Herald, Philip, Elisabeth, Rodrigo, Chorus
Sire, no, l’ora estrema (Flemish Deputies) Don Carlo, Herald, Philip, Elisabeth, Rodrigo, Tebaldo, 6 Deputies, Chorus
Sire! egli Ë tempo ch’io viva Don Carlo, Philip, Elisabeth, Tebaldo, Rodrigo, Monks
Spuntato Ë il di Heavenly Voice, Deputies, Monks, Chorus


Summary: Philip obtains help from the Grand Inquisitor in setting up a trial for his son. Princess Eboli has passed Elisabeth’s jewel box on to the King; a portrait of Carlos is inside. The King confronts the Queen with it, at which she faints.Eboli then confesses everything, including the fact that she has been the King’s mistress. Elisabeth bans her from the Court. The incriminating documents have been found in Rodrigo’s possessions. He goes to see Carlos in prison, knowing that his own last hour is upon him. A gun fires and Rodrigo falls; mortally wounded, he dies in Carlos’ arms. Philip enters and goes to give Carlos back his sword, but Carlos rejects him, having realised that Rodrigo has died to save him. The populace storm the prison and Carlos flees.


Part 1
Ella giammai m’amo Philip
Il Grand’ Inquisitor! Philip, In
quisitor, Lerma
Nell’ ispano suol Inquisitor, Philip
Le idee dei novator Inquisitor, Philip
Giustizia, sire! Elisabeth, Philip
Ardita troppo Elisabeth, Philip, Eboli
Ah! sii maledetto Philip, Eboli, Rodrigo
O don fatale Elisabeth, Eboli
O mia Regina Eboli
Part 2
Son io, mio Carlo Rodrigo, Don Carlo
Per me giunto Rodrigo, Don Carlo
Io morrÚ, ma lieto Rodrigo, Don Carlo
Mio Carlo, a te la spada Philip, Don Carlo
Ciel! suona a stormo! Lerma, Philip, Eboli, Chorus
Sacrilegio infame! Lerma, Philip, Eboli, Inquisitor, Chorus

Act IV

Summary: Elisabeth and Carlos bid each other farewell in the gardens of the monastery of San Yuste.They are taken by surprise by the King and the Grand Inquisitor, but a mysterious monk appears (the ghost of Carlos V?) before the guards can take Carlos prisoner and drags him away into the monastery.


Tu che le vanita Elisabeth
» dessa! (Final Scene) Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Si . . . l’eroismo Ë questo Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Ma lass˘ ci vedremo Elisabeth, Don Carlo
Si per sempre! Philip, Elisabeth, Inquisitor, Don Carlo, Monks, 4 Brothers

Source: De Nederlandse Opera

here for the complete libretto

Click here for the
text of Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien (English

image_description=Portrait of Philip II of Spain by Sofonisba Anguissola (1573) [Source: Wikipedia]
first_audio_name=Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo
product_title=Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo
product_by=Nicolai Ghiaurov (Philip), Franco Corelli (Don Carlo), Eberhard Waechter (Rodrigo), Martti Talvela (Grand Inquisitor), Tugomir Franc (Monk), Gundula Janowitz (Elisabeth), Shirley Verrett (Eboli), Edita Gruberova (Thibault), Ewald Aichberger (Lerma), Judith Blegen (Heavenly Voice), Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Horst Stein (cond.)
Live recording, 25 October 1970, Vienna
product_id=Above: Portrait of Philip II of Spain by Sofonisba Anguissola (1573) [Source: Wikipedia]