Princess Eboli

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(Verdi: Don Carlos). Mez. Lady‐in‐waiting to Elisabeth de Valois (who becomes Queen of Spain). She is in love with the Spanish Infante, Don Carlos, who was betrothed to Elisabeth until his father decided to marry her himself. On the night before the Coronation, Elisabeth sends Eboli to represent her at the festivities—there is a masked ball and Eboli is masked and dressed in the Queen's clothes. Carlos mistakes her for Elisabeth and pours out his love for her. Eboli, realizing that he and the Queen are lovers, determines to expose them to the King (with whom she has had an adulterous relationship). When she admits her role in encouraging the King's jealousy, and begs the Queen's pardon, Elisabeth gives her a choice—exile or a nunnery. Before leaving, she helps Carlos escape from prison where his father has kept him incarcerated. Aria (with chorus): Au palais des fées (‘In the fairy palace’)—known as the Song of the Veil, this is a lovely display‐aria for a mez. with a wide range; O don fatal (‘O fatal gift’). Eboli is traditionally portrayed wearing an eye‐patch. There is much controversy about the authenticity of this patch. It is variously said that she needed to wear it because of an injury to her eye in childhood; that she wore it to hide a squint; or that it was worn just to add to the effect of her appearance. Created (Fr. vers. 1867) by Pauline Gueymard‐Lauters; (It. vers. 1884) by Giuseppina Pasqua.

Subjects: Opera.

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