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2019-9, Vienna, Don Carlo

Don Carlo

(4 act version in Italian)


Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Librettist: Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle after Schiller’s drama, Cormon’s drama and Prescott’s history. Revised in 4 acts by du Locle, translated into Italian by Angelo Zanardini based on Achile de Lauziéres’ original version

Venue and Dates: Vienna State Opera
6, 9, 12 September 2019  (12 September livestream)

Conductor: Jonathan Darlington
Daniele Abbado


Philip II: René Pape
Elisabetta di Valois:  Anja Harteros / Dinara Alieva (12 September)
Don Carlo:  Fabio Sartori
Rodrigo:  Simon Keenlyside
Princess Eboli: Elena Zhidkova
Grand Inquisitor:  Dmitry Ulyanov


Photo Gallery


Sound bites

Operawire, 07.09.19, Francisco Salazar

“….Simon Keenlyside is one of the most esteemed baritones of his generation and his voice remains elegant and expressive….

This was most noticeable in his confrontation with Filippo, with Keenlyside using all of his vocal resources with heroic intensity. When he came to “Orrenda, orrenda pace! la pace e dei sepolcri!,” Keenlyside emoted with powerful diction, showcasing a grainy timbre that fit perfectly with the horrid meaning of the text. He and Pape created tense moments, allowing for the duet to become even more unpredictable. If Keenlyside crescendoed to a forte, Pape stayed poised and controlled with his suave bass sound.

While that scene might have been the most immersive from a dramatic perspective, Keenlyside also shone in his arias. In Act one, Keenlyside sang the first verse of his initial romance with elegance and restraint. However, seeing as the queen wouldn’t budge, Keenlyside used the repetition of the A section to emphasize his case through a more emphatic vocal approach.

In Act four, Keenlyside poured all the emotions into his double arias. “Per me giunto” expressed nostalgia and longing through his ardent sound. He held out the legato lines and gave each phrase a warmer color. Then as he sang the second aria “O Carlo Ascolta,” his high notes and long lines expressed a weeping sound. During the passage “Regnare tu dovevi, ed io morir per te,” Keenlyside emphasized each consonant in the text, portraying with his last breaths a desire to stay alive…..”

onlinemerker.com, 07.09.19, Manfred A Schmid

“…Die Partie seines Freundes Rodrigo ist bei Sir Simon Keenlyside in den besten Händen. Dass der verunsicherte König bei ihm Schutz und Beistand sucht, ist nicht seinem kaum spektakulär wirkenden Aufreten verschuldet, sondern seiner Gabe, sowohl diplomatisches Geschick als auch authentische, ehrliche Offenheit sowie Entschlossenheit in seinem Wesen zu vereinen….”

“…With Sir Simon Keenlyside, the role of his friend Rodrigo is in the best of hands. The fact that the insecure king seeks protection and assistance from him is not due to his hardly spectacular appearance, but rather to his ability to combine both diplomatic skill as well as authentic, honest openness and determination in his nature…”

dermerker.com, 06.09.19, Thomas Prochazka

“…Sartoris Stimme klingt nur ein wenig heller als jene von Simon Keenlyside, dem Rodrigo des Abends. Keenlyside bestreitet den marchese di Posa mit hörbarem Krafteinsatz, doch mit dem ihm eigenen Charme. Keenlyside ist immer die darzustellende Figur. Es ist schwer zu sagen, wo Rodrigo endet und Simon Keenlyside beginnt. Wenn er sich im Duett mit Filippo II. an den Kopf greift; wenn er das große Duett mit Don Carlo singt: Wieviel Rodrigo steckt da in Simon Keenlyside? Ja, er transponiert den einen oder anderen Spitzenton. Ja, das legato funktioniert nicht (mehr) so wie bei den großen Baritonen früherer Sängergenerationen. Ja, die hohen Töne verlangen ihm besondere Konzentration und Anstrengung ab. Aber Keenlyside hält klug haus mit seinen Kräften, um sein Publikum bei »Per me giunto« und »Io morrò« nicht zu enttäuschen…”

“…Sartori’s voice sounds only slightly brighter than that of Simon Keenlyside, the evening’s Rodrigo. Keenlyside takes the role of the Marquis of Posa with audible exertion, but with his own charm. Keenlyside is always the role he is playing. It is difficult to say where Rodrigo ends and Simon Keenlyside begins. When he touches his head during the duet with Philip II, when he is singing the great duet with Don Carlo – how much Rodrigo is there in Simon Keenlyside? Yes, he transposes one or two top notes. Yes, the legato doesn’t work any longer, like the great baritones of earlier generations of singers. Yes, the high notes demand a great deal of concentration and effort from him. But Keenlyside cleverly economises his strengths so as not to disappoint his audience with “per me giunto” and “io morrò”…”

theoperacritic.com, 06.09.19, Moore Parker

“…Simon Keenlyside repeated his compelling Rodrigo – acted here as a rather hapless pawn, and sung with anticipated style and proficiency. The British baritone well held his own in the great Act 1 scene with Filippo, as much as in the subsequent Garden scene trio. Tastefully unsentimental – yet touching – his “Per me giunto..” was finely spun – and while crowned by a convincingly sculpted demise, it nevertheless remains impossible to oversee a certain paucity in the ideal vocal substance to consolidate the interpretation….”

onlinemerker.com, 09.09.19, Valentino Hribernig-Körber

“….Als das Geschehen mit diplomatischem Geschick vorantreibender Rodrigo war Simon Keenlyside zu erleben, von dem man zunächst den Eindruck hatte, dass ihm die Vorlagen des Dirigenten nicht sonderlich entgegen kamen, an einigen exponierten Stellen stieß er anscheinend auch an die oberen Schranken seiner Möglichkeiten. Davon abgesehen gestaltete er einen kraftvoll-virilen Granden, dem man gern abnehmen wollte, dass er das Vertrauen der verschiedenen Mitglieder der königlichen Familie auf sich zieht. Kraftvoll auch seine Sterbeszene, seiner Interpretation von “Per me giunto” und “Io morro” war deutlich anzuhören, dass hier ein Großer zu Tode gebracht wird, der in die Mühlen rivalisierender politischer Interessen geraten ist….”

“…Simon Keenlyside was Rodrigo, who drove the proceedings with diplomatic skill. On first impression, it seemed that the conductor’s guidelines were not very accommodating to him and in some exposed areas he seemed to hit the upper limits of his potential. But apart from that he portrayed a powerfully virile Grandee, who seemed plausibly to gain the trust of various members of the royal family. His death scene was also powerful and in his interpretation of “per me giunto” and “io morrò” it was possible to hear clearly that a great man had been brought to death by being caught up in the wheels of rival political factions….”

L’Ape musicale, 18.09.19, Andrea R G Pedrotti

(review in Italian)

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