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  • Don Carlo is a very grand but amazing opera from what I consider the greatest opera composer Giuseppe Verdi. It contains a compelling story, if you forgive the somewhat inconclusive ending, and one of Verdi's finest and at the same time more complex scores not just musically but character-wise and dramatically. As fond as I am of the 1984 and 1996 productions, I just love this telecast.

    I have always loved Verdi's music, and Don Carlo contains some of his best I feel. The duet between Carlo and Rodrigo/Posa is a classic and rightfully so, it's not just one of my favourite Verdi duets but one of my all-time favourite opera duets, but other than the duet between Posa and Phillip, Posa's heart-rending O Carlo Ascolta, Tu Che Le Vanita(stunningly performed by Scotto) and the scene between Phillip and the Inquisitor, which gives me chills every time, it is Phillip's lament Ella Giammai m'amo, if that doesn't bring at least a lump to your throat especially when performed by Boris Christoff I don't know what will, that really captivates me.

    This production/telecast is a must if you love this opera. It is lovingly directed by John Dexter, and the whole orchestral playing and conducting is superb. The sets are suitably extravagant and the costumes are beautiful, and I loved the interesting camera angles. Throughout there is some inspired staging particularly in the scene between Phillip and Rodrigo/Posa as well.

    The performances are exceptional on the whole. Vasile Moldoveanu is a very decent Carlo, dashing with a brilliant tenor voice and musicality, and while he does at least react well in O Carlo Ascolta when it comes to the acting out of the leads he is the least captivating, coming off as a tad stiff at first. But this is more than made up for by Renata Scotto's lovely and rivetingly acted Elisabetta(especially in the final scene), Tatiana Troyanos'(rest in peace) excellent Eboli- her O Don Fatale is really a performance to remember this mezzo soprano by- and especially Jerome Hines' genuinely frightening and imposing Grand Inquisitor.

    However, two performances especially stand out. One is Paul Plishka as the intelligent and heavily burdened King Phillip, who sounds wonderful and his acting is outstanding. He is quite intense dramatically in the duet between him and Posa, with not only the chilling warning to Posa warning him of the Inquisitor but especially the scariest angry facial expression of any Phillip. But his Ella Giammai m'amo is also incredibly moving, bringing out his pain of Elisabetta being cold to him so well. The other is Sherrill Milnes as Posa, a very noble and idealistic performance. Along with Rigoletto and Iago, Posa is a Verdi role that Milnes excels especially at. He is in great voice, looks very handsome, has an amazing command of the stage and a mastery of acting with the voice. There is no scene where Milnes is less than very good, and I think he is especially outstanding in his scene with Phillip and in O Carlo Ascolta, while his Per Me Guinto is beautifully phrased and communicative.

    In conclusion, a must see. 10/10 Bethany Cox