King Philip II

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(Verdi: Don Carlos). Bass. King of Spain, father of the Infante Don Carlos, who has been betrothed to Elisabeth de Valois in an attempt to bring peace between their countries. Philip decides to marry Elisabeth himself, and for the sake of her country she agrees, although she is in love with Carlos. Philip is suspicious of the relationship between his wife and his son. Despite her denials of unfaithfulness, he has Carlos arrested and imprisoned, assured by the Grand Inquisitor that he can even have him killed for the sake of the faith of the country. At the tomb of his father, the Emperor Carlos V, Philip hides and watches Elisabeth bid farewell to Carlos. Philip orders him to be arrested, but is thwarted as the tomb of the Emperor opens and Carlos is dragged inside to the safety of the cloister. Arias: Elle ne m'aime pas! (‘She does not love me!’); duet (with Posa): Votre regard hardi s'est levé sur mon trône (‘Your daring glance has been raised to my throne’). This is one of three male roles in the lower register in this opera (the others being Posa and the Grand Inquisitor), and Verdi's skill in differentiating between them vocally can be heard in the various duets and ensembles. Created (Fr. vers. 1867) by Louis‐Henri Obin; (It. vers. 1884) by Alessandro Silvestri.

Subjects: Opera.

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