On Sept. 22, LA Opera opens its 2018-19 season with Verdi’s timeless classic Don Carlo. With rich orchestrations, thundering choruses and an endless flow of rapturous melodies, one of Verdi’s grandest and greatest works is an enthralling tale of morality and mortality.
Rehearsals are already well underway for the performance, and the artists and staff are busy preparing for opening night. Here are seven facts about LA Opera’s upcoming revival of Don Carlo to look forward to!
Plácido Domingo Returns
Maestro Plácido Domingo was recently lauded by The New York Times for his extraordinary career feat: an unprecedented 150 roles under his belt. Among these 150 roles, Maestro Domingo last performed on the LA Opera stage in last season’s production of Nabucco. He returns for yet another Verdi masterpiece as Rodrigo di Posa, a role he added to his repertoire only last year in Vienna. Rodrigo is one of 11 new Verdi baritone roles Maestro Domingo has performed in the last decade.
In addition to Maestro Domingo, several LA Opera favorites will make triumphant returns for Don Carlo. Ana María Martínez, who appeared in the 2017/18 season in Bizet’s Carmen and was last seen in Plácido Domingo’s 50th Anniversary Concert, performs the role of the steadfast Elisabeth of Valois. Bass Morris Robinson, another staple of LA Opera, also returns in Don Carlo as the Grand Inquisitor. Both artists will be seen again on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage later this season — with Robinson appearing as Parsi Rustomji in Satyagraha, and Martínez as Solea in El Gato Montés: The Wildcat.
The ‘Milan Version’
The first production of Don Carlo was commissioned by Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra (now known as Opéra National de Paris) in March 1867, and was originally performed in French in five acts. However, like many operas of the time, Don Carlo underwent many revisions and rewrites before Verdi got it just right. Fast forward almost two centuries, and many of the different versions are still performed today. The version LA Opera is producing is known as the ‘Milan version’, and will be performed in four acts and in Italian.
This year, LA Opera will present Don Carlo as the feature for its annual simulcast on Sept. 22! The performance will be broadcast live from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage to the big screen at both the Santa Monica Pier and El Cariso Community Regional Park in Sylmar. Click here for more information about the free, live simulcast!
Young Artists Reign
As always, the ‘secret sauce’ to many of LA Opera’s productions is the participation of our singers in the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. There are three young artists performing in Don Carlo — mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven sings the role of Tebaldo, tenor Joshua Wheeker performs the Count of Lerma and soprano Liv Redpath sings Voce dal Cielo (The Celestial Voice).
A ‘Stunning Revival’
LA Opera’s stunning yet morbid production of Don Carlo premiered in 2006, originally directed by Ian Judge. At its premiere, it was called “A stunning revival” and was said to have “created an extraordinary realization of the drama and music in Verdi’s huge, rawboned and rarely performed operatic masterpiece” (Variety). This is the first time Don Carlo returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion since 2006, with director Louisa Muller taking over for Judge this season.
Maestro James Conlon
Of course, we can’t talk about the astonishingly magnificent music of Giuseppe Verdi without including Maestro James Conlon, LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music Director. Though Maestro Conlon’s repertoire spans from the classical through the contemporary periods (he will conduct over 35 performances of seven works this year alone!), he has a proclivity for the operas of Verdi. In fact, this production of Don Carlo marks his 50th time he will perform this piece. Among his performances in the pit at LA Opera this year, Conlon will again conduct another Verdi classic later in season with La Traviata in June.
For more information or to purchase tickets for Don Carlo, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.