Maestro James Conlon returns to the orchestra pit at LA Opera for Verdi’s Don Carlo on Sept. 22. Read his notes and thoughts on Verdi’s masterpiece as he prepares for the performance!
And Samuel said to Saul: “Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” And Saul answered: “I am sore distressed; …and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more…therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.” (First Book of Samuel, 28:15)
“Then why do you evoke the shadow of Samuel,” thunders the Grand Inquisitor at the climax of his bracing confrontation with Philip II, king of Spain. The biblical reference, hurled as a coup de grâce from one potentate at another, is emblematic of the dimensions of Giuseppe Verdi’s 23rd and perhaps most ambitious opera. Those dimensions refer not only to the length, but also the breadth of its historical roots and the depth of its profoundly expressive portrayal of the human drama.
Don Carlo is unique in Verdi’s output. It is not bridge leading on to the future; it is mountain peak standing on its own, complete within itself.
It is “about” a family conflict between father and son, a nostalgic and impossible love between that son and his young stepmother, and the unsteadiness of the son searching to find himself. Those elements alone would suggest just another domestic drama, were it not for who they are…LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.