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Posa, Rodrigo, Marquis de


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(Verdi: Don Carlos). Bar. A loyal supporter of King Philip II of Spain and close friend of the Infante, Don Carlos. Carlos tells Posa of his love for Elisabeth, now married to his father. The Marquis advises him to try to forget his frustration by going to Flanders and helping the people there who have been oppressed by the Catholic rule imposed on them by Spain. Posa asks the King to allow Carlos to go to Flanders, begging him to treat the people there less severely. The King, whilst admiring Posa's liberal ideals, nevertheless warns him to beware of the Grand Inquisitor. He also asks Posa to watch Carlos and Elisabeth, about whose relationship he is suspicious. At the autoda‐fé, the King rejects Carlos's pleas on behalf of the heretics, and Carlos draws his sword. To avoid bloodshed, Posa steps in and takes the sword from him. Knowing his friend is now in danger, Posa visits Carlos in prison and deliberately stands where he can be seen by his enemies. Posa is shot. As he dies, he tells Carlos that Elisabeth will be waiting for him the next day at the monastery of San Yuste to say goodbye to him. Aria: Carlos écoute…Ah! Je meurs l‘âme joyeuse (‘Carlos, listen…Ah! I die with a happy soul’). In the Schiller play from which this opera libretto was fashioned, Posa is a more dominant role, being the main character in the attempt to save Flanders from Philip's tyrannical rule. In the opera, he is less important for this purpose than Don Carlos, but his death aria is one of the most beautiful in the opera. Created (Fr. vers. 1867) by Jean‐Baptiste Faure; (It. vers. 1884) by Paul Lhérie. See also article by Thomas Hampson.

Subjects: Opera.


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