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Elisabeth de Valois


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(Verdi: Don Carlos). Sop. Daughter of Henri II of France, betrothed unseen to the Infante of Spain, in the hope of ending the wars between their two countries. She is attracted to a young Spaniard she meets and is delighted when she realizes this is Carlos, her future husband. However, his father, King Philip, decides to marry Elisabeth himself, and for the sake of her country she has to agree. Carlos, now her step‐son, asks her to persuade his father to send him to Flanders. On the eve of Philip's Coronation, Elisabeth sends her lady‐in‐waiting, Eboli, to deputize for her at the festivities, masked and dressed in the queen's clothes. Mistaking her identity, Carlos declares his love, thus giving away their secret and Eboli vows to expose them. The King accuses Elisabeth of adultery after finding Carlos's portrait in her jewel‐box, his attention having been drawn to it by Eboli, who admits her involvement and also her adultery with Philip. Elisabeth is unable to pardon her adultery—she can go into exile or into a nunnery. At the monastery at San Yuste, Elisabeth kneels in prayer near the tomb of Carlos's grandfather. She says farewell to Carlos who is about to leave for Flanders. They are interrupted by the arrival of the King and the Grand Inquisitor, come to arrest Carlos, but the tomb opens and Carlos is dragged inside. Aria: Toi qui sus le néant des grandeurs de ce monde (‘You who knew the emptiness of the pomp of this world’); duet (with Carlos): De quels transports (‘What rapture’). Created (Fr. vers. 1867) by Marie‐Constance Sasse; (It. vers. 1884) by Abigaille Bruschi‐Chiatti.

Subjects: Opera.


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