Don Carlo di Vargas

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(Verdi: La forza del destino). Bar. Son of the Marchese di Calatrava and brother of Leonora. When his father is killed, albeit accidentally, by Alvaro, Leonora's lover, Carlo vows vengeance. He follows them when they escape but Leonora and Alvaro become separated and each believes the other dead. At an inn, disguised as a student, Pereda, Carlo is encouraged to join the army fighting the Germans in Italy. In the army camp he meets Alvaro. Not knowing each other's identity, they become firm friends. When Alvaro is injured, Carlo finds his sister's portrait among Alvaro's papers and realizes the truth. He and Alvaro begin to fight a duel but are separated by the troops and Alvaro enters a monastery. Years later, Carlo arrives at the monastery demanding to see ‘Padre Raffaele’, who is Alvaro. Again they fight, and Carlo is fatally wounded. Summoning help from a nearby cave, Alvaro recognizes Leonora. As she gives her brother the last rites, Carlo stabs her. He has avenged his father. Aria: Urna fatale del mio destino (‘Fatal urn of my destiny’); duet (with Alvaro): Da un lustro ne vo in traccia (‘For five years I've been searching for you’). It was just after opening the urna fatale on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, in 1960 that the baritone Leonard Warren ‘pitched forward like an oak felled’ (Rudolf Bing: 5000 Nights at the Opera) and was pronounced dead by the company doctor. Created (1862) by Francesco Graziani.

Subjects: Opera.

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