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Special Event – Inaugurations
La Scala opens with Verdi's Don Carlo conducted by Riccardo Chailly
Protagonists Francesco Meli, Anna Netrebko, Michele Pertusi, Elīna Garanča, Luca Salsi, Ain Anger, directed by Lluís Pasqual, costumes by Franca Squarciapino
Organized by: Teatro alla Scala Foundation

Teatro alla Scala Foundation Presents

“ Season 2023/24 | Opera "
Don Carlo of Giuseppe Verdi directed by Riccardo Chailly inaugurates the Season 2023/24 of the Teatro alla Scala, Thursday December 7 (6pm), traditional 'first' of Sant' Ambrogio. The show, directed by Lluis Pasqual will be on stage until January 2, 2024 for another seven performances which are already sold out, like the youth preview scheduled for December 3rd.

One of the most beloved Verdi titles, taken from Don Karlos of Friedrich Schiller (1787), the work will be presented in Italian version in four acts prepared by the composer in 1884 precisely for La Scala, where the Season opens for the ninth time after the inaugurations of 1868, 1878, 1912, 1926, 1968, 1977, 1992 and 2008.

The Music Director Riccardo Chailly, on the podium ofOrchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, will lead a stellar cast that sees Francesco Meli like Don Carlo, Anna Netrebko like Elizabeth of Valois, Michele Pertusi in the role of Philip II, Elīna Garanča in that of the Princess of Eboli, Luca Salsi in the part of the Marquis of Posa e Ain Anger as Grand Inquisitor. Protagonist of no less importance is Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala directed by Alberto Malazzi.

The installation signed by Lluis Pasqual makes use of the scenes of Daniel Bianco, of the Oscar-winning costumes Franca Squarciapino, of the lights of Pascal Mérat, the videos of Franc Aleu and choreography by Nuria Castejón.

For Riccardo Chailly Don Carlo is “Verdi's bible” and the completion of a reflection on power extended over three openings of the Season, from Macbeth in 2021 to Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov in 2022 to the current one. In his new approach to Don Carlo, which he directed in Amsterdam in 2010 in a beautiful production by Willy Decker, the Maestro returns with his memory to the editions directed by Claudio Abbado in 1968 and 1977, whose rehearsals he had followed, but also reference to the direct study of the manuscripts made available to him by Ricordi. As in Abbado's edition, you will hear the introduction to Filippo's monologue entrusted to the row of cellos according to the score and not to the cello alone as often happens.

Don Carlo returns to the Teatro alla Scala in a large production that reflects the dual nature of historical drama and romantic manifesto of Schiller's original, highlighting the extraordinary artists and craftsmen who work in the theatre's workshops. A unique scenic system is transformed without interrupting the action in the different spaces foreseen by the libretto thanks to the spectacular alternation of colossal scenographic elements. Verdi proposes the themes dear to him of the freedom of feelings, the difficult relationship between fathers and children and the liberation of oppressed peoples against the backdrop of the conflict between temporal and religious power. To make the atmosphere suspended between ecclesiastical and secular environment the director Lluis Pasqual and the set designer Daniel Bianco they referred to the use of alabaster in the windows of religious but also civil buildings and in particular the large window of the Collegiate Church of Santa María La Mayor in the Spanish city of Toro. A large alabaster tower is framed in a system of gates which also recur in religious and civil architecture. The scene allows us to cut out the numerous moments of intimacy and isolation that punctuate the tragedy in the large spaces of the stage.

Don Carlo takes us behind the scenes of the spectacle of power: even the auto-da-fé, a dazzling and macabre ceremony of self-representation of absolutism, not too different from the mechanisms of today's propaganda, is shown above all in the moment of preparation and only a few minutes are reserved for the " party” in its grandiloquent exteriority. Here stands a colossal gilded and finely decorated retable. These spaces are animated by the pictorialism of the costumes of Franca Squarciapino, which recall the clothing represented in the portraiture of the time but lighten it in the choice of materials, guaranteeing ease of movement and a certain romantic vitality to the characters. The structure is documented but not necessarily philological: although placed in their era, the protagonists represent emotions and human characteristics present in all times. The prevailing color is black, not intended as an expression of mortification or mourning but as a display of power and wealth: in the 16th century, black velvets and brocades were among the most valuable fabrics.

(Photocredit, Brescia & Amisano / Teatro alla Scala)


The premiere on December 7th will be filmed by Rai Cultura for the first time in 4k and transmitted in Live tv on Rai 1 and streaming on Raiplay, as well as live radio on Radio3.
La Scala opens with Verdi's Don Carlo conducted by Riccardo Chailly

Other information of interest

The versions of the work

The first ever of Don Carlos takes place atParis Opera (which was then located in the Salle le Péletier which would be destroyed by fire in 1873) theMarch 11, 1867. It is the third opera written by Verdi for France afterwards Jérusalem (1847 rewrite of Lombardi at the first Crusade) And Les Vêpres Siciliennes (1855). The French libretto by Joseph Mery is Camille du Locle is based on the tragedy of Friedrich Schiller Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien staged in Hamburg in 1787. The work, commissioned for the second Universal Exhibition in Paris (the director of the Opéra, Jules Perrin, had proposed Don Carlos or Cleopatra from the Julius Caesar of Shakespeare; Verdi had thought about King Lear but above all to El zapatero y el Rey by Zorilla before resolving for Schiller), was in five acts with ballet according to the use of the "grand boutique" and proclaimed the values of personal and political freedom against the oppression of religious and state absolutism.

The Italian premiere it follows the Parisian one by a few months: Angelo Mariani directs Don Carlo, with booklet translated into Italian by Achille de Lauzières, to Bologna on October 27, starring Teresa Stolz. Stolz is also Elizabeth in before of the work at the Teatro alla Scala, directed by Alberto Mazzucato on March 25th 1868: the five acts are performed in Italian with the ballet. The same version in five acts and dances will inaugurate the La Scala season on 26 December 1868, on the podium by Eugenio Terziani, and on 26 December 1878, director Franco Faccio.

Meanwhile, for the first at San Carlo Theater in Naples in 1872 Verdi had modified the duet between Philip II and the Marquis of Posa and shortened the final duet between Carlo and Elisabetta. The remodeling work resumes and intensifies together with Du Locle for the French version of Vienna in 1882 and ends for the production in Italian of the 1884 to the Teatro alla Scala.

Here Verdi makes not only a series of cuts, but a profound rethinking of the structure and in a certain way of the very nature of the opera: he suppresses the entire first act (i.e. the background which narrates the blossoming of passion between Carlo and Elisabetta in the forest of Fontainebleau); rewrites the duets Carlo-Rodrigo and Filippo-Rodrigo of the second act; replaces the beginning of the third act with a prelude and eliminates the subsequent ballet; he rewrites much of the Filippo-Elisabetta scene in act four with the subsequent Quartet; shortens the final quarter, starting with Rodrigo's death; rewrites and shortens the conclusion of the fifth act.

A new, more concise and agile drama emerges, in which the political factor and the figure of Philip II prevail over the psychological/sentimental one and the characters of Charles and Elizabeth. Born from practical needs, the revision ends up reflecting Verdi's propensity for dramatic conciseness: “the cuts – he writes – they don't spoil the musical drama, on the contrary by shortening it they make it more alive".

In 1886 Verdi approves, even without having personally intervened, a new version proposed to Modena, which restores the first act according to the Ricordi edition, followed by the other four as redesigned in the 1884 La Scala edition.



Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala

Director Riccardo Chailly
Direction Lluis Pasqual

Scenes Daniel Bianco
Costumes Franca Squarciapino
Lights Pascal Mérat
Video Franc Aleu
Choreography Nuria Castejón
Choir Master Alberto Malazzi

Main characters and performers
Philip II, King of Spain Michele Pertusi
Don Carlo, Infante of Spain Francesco Meli
Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa Luca Salsi
The Grand Inquisitor Ain Anger
Elizabeth of Valois Anna Netrebko /
Maria José Siri (30 Dec., 2 Jan.)
The Princess of Eboli Elīna Garanča /
Veronica Simeoni (30 Dec., 2 Jan.)
A friar Jongmin Park
Tybalt, Elizabeth's page Elisa Verzier
The Count of Lerma/ A royal herald Jinxu Xiahou
A voice from heaven Rosalia Cid
Flemish deputies Chao Liu*, Wonjun Jo*, Huanhong Li*, Giuseppe De Luca, Xhieldo Hyseni*, Neven Crnić
*Students of the Teatro alla Scala Academy New Teatro alla Scala production 


Giuseppe Verdi
Don Carlo

Opera in four acts
Booklet of Joseph Mery is Camille du Locle
Italian translation of Achille de Lauzières is Angelo Zanardini
Adapted from Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien of Friedrich Schiller


7 December 2023 at 6pm Inaugural Evening
10 December 2023 at 2.30 pm
December 13th at 7pm
16 December 2023 at 7pm
19 December 2023 at 7pm
22 December 2023 at 7pm
30 December 2023 at 7pm
2 January 2024 at 7pm

Under 30 preview: 3 December 2023 at 6pm

Who organizes

Teatro alla ScalaThe New Regio Ducal… more

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