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Don Carlos


From 17 March to 06 April 2018

Don Carlos © Corentin Fohlen
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Don Carlos - Verdi

Don Carlos - Verdi


  • Verdi : Don Carlos


  • Conductor : Daniele Rustioni

  • Director : Christophe Honoré

  • Seating plan
  • Venue Info
  • Synopsis

Seating plan are subject to change depending on performances


Address : 1 Place de la Comédie, 69001 Lyon France

Capacity :

1200 seats

Other information :

The city of Lyon has a long lyrical past, for, as early as 1697, the town obtained the authorisation (a then highly sought-after privilege) to open a Royal Academy of Music. Lyon's first permanent opera was built in 1756; the theatre was later razed, while its foundations served as the basis for a new theatre, opened in 1831. During this long history, the Lyon Opera forged, little by little, a solid reputation of proposing an innovative repertoire. This reputation was quite justified, and the Opera became known as the " cradle of French Wagnerianism," for it was here that the MEISTERSINGER, in 1896, and the RING, in 1904, were premiered in France. The Wagnerian tradition lasted until the Second World War, alongside an ever-increasing place reserved for contemporary works (Schoenberg and Henze were billed in 1967).


But it was mainly as of Louis Erlo's arrival at the head of the institution in 1969 that the house established a firm reputation as one of France's most dynamic theatres in the domain of lyrical creation. Besides the French premiere of Richard Strauss' DIE SCHWEIGSAME FRAU, the stage proposed the French premiere of works composed by, amongst others, Nono, Berio, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, whose DIE SOLDATEN was performed here in 1983. This same year, the Lyon Opera became equipped with a permanent orchestra, with John Eliot Gardiner as its music director. Gardiner's wide ranging repertoire, and especially his sound knowledge of the baroque sensitivity, together with the affinity of his successor, Kent Nagano (appointed in 1988), for twentieth century music, have secured the orchestra's ability to readily adapt to the most diverse works.


In 1993, the new Lyon Opera was inaugurated, entirely redesigned by the architect Jean Nouvel. While the building underwent renovation, the company took advantage of the six seasons spent outside of its theatre to perform in different places, reaching out to a new audience. The new building, designed to incorporate a large glass wall into the existing walls of the old theatre, is symbolic of the Lyon Opera's past: a perfect union of audacity and tradition. The inaugural evening therefore included both a revival of Lully's PHAETON, that had opened the first season during the seventeenth century, and the premiere of Debussy's little-known unfinished opera RODRIGUE ET CHIMENE. Thanks to a reputation strengthened by continuing success, as well as a by the policy of maintaining a prestigious training programme for young singers and by the production of dynamic audiovisual projects, the Lyon Opera was, in 1996, the first Institution outside of Paris to receive the status of "National Opera by the French authorities.


Don Carlos is a 5 act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi. The opera's first performance was in the year 1867 in Italy. 
Later, two other versions surfaced namely; the Milan version in 1884 and the Modena version in 1886. Since then there has been a number of versions resulting from the changes made by different composers. The play is approximately 4 hours and is Verdi's longest play.


The play is about the life of Carlos, Asturias prince. The love of his life was married to his father as a form of peace treaty which ended the Italian War between Habsburg and Valois. It's a magnificent work of art that emotionally overwhelms its audience. Due to its interesting, captivating and dramatic aspect, the play has now popularized worldwide and deserves a standing ovation.

Act 1

The play begins with a song from wood cutters and their wives expressing their sorrow towards the war and the effects it has brought upon their lives. Elisabeth, the King's daughter assures the crowd that her marriage to Don Carlos would end the war. Carlos who was in hiding sees Elisabeth and falls for her and later Elisabeth reappears and also falls for Carlos. A canon ball is shot signifying the declaration of peace and Elisabeth is given the sad news of her wedding to King Phillip, Carlos' father. She and Carlos are left in despair but she has no other option but to accept which she does.

Act 2

The scene happens after Elisabeth and Philip's marriage. The monks are praying at the former Emperor Charles V's tomb. Carlos arrives greatly distraught by the marriage of his father and only love. He is blessed by a monk who resembles his grandfather. The King and his new wife also arrive to offer respect to the late emperor's tomb.
The princess Eboli is singing as Elisabeth enters. Posa forwards a letter together with a note from Carlos to her. Elisabeth accepts the request to meet with Carlos but Eboli mistakes the note to be hers. Carlos asks her to request his father to send him to Flanders which she accepts. He leaves the room feeling sad. The King enters and finds his wife all alone which really angers him. He ends up chasing away the lady who was supposed to be with her.

Act 3

Eboli sends a love note to Carlos expressing her feelings for him. At first, Carlos thinks the letter is from Elisabeth but is astonished when the admirer reveals her identity. She realizes that the note from Carlos was not meant for her but Elisabeth. She threatens to expose them which angers Posa who almost stubs her. Carlos and Posa disclose their friendship for one another as Carlos hands over his political documents for safe keeping. The King is addressing his people at the parade when Don Carlos interrupts him. He forwards 6 Flandamian envoys who beg for the freedom of their country. The King denies them and orders for their arrest. This really angers Carlos who pulls out a sword on his father. Posa begs Carlos to surrender the sword to him which pleases the King. Fire starts and a voice is heard from above promising peace.

Act 4

The King wants to have his son killed and accuses Elisabeth of being unfaithful. Eboli later confesses that she was having an affair with the King and Posa decides to be killed on behalf of Carlos. Carlos who is in prison is made aware of the situation by Posa. Posa is shot dead by an unknown person.

Act 5

Finally the King and Inquisitor agree for Carlos to be put to death. Carlos defends himself with his sword. The crowd is astonished by the appearance of the late emperor who pulls Carlos in the tomb and closes. The curtain falls.


Don Carlos, prince of Asturia, tenor.

Elisabeth, the queen, soprano

Philippe II, The King of Spain, Bass

Rodrigo,marquis de Posa, grand d'Espagne, Baryton

La princesse Eboli, mezzo-Soprano

Le Grand Inquisiteur, Bass

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