Every audience member hates to see a manager come out onto the stage before the performance because it usually means that the star performer most likely is not going to appear due to the fact that they are ill or something similar. This past Wednesday, the Don Carlo performance by Verdi went ahead once again without Anja Harteros in the role of Elizabeth. In fact, the only time that she has appeared as part of the cast was during the press night.
Harteros also pulled out of Othell,o making her an actress that is becoming rather unreliable to her audience. It is rough on audiences that are already splurging on a ticket without worrying whether they need to get a ticket to the first night to actually see the top billed cast. The good news is that her stand, Lianna Haroutounian, was obviously very prepared for the role and she was able to carry the opera along quite well.
Don Carlo is based on the 16th century set Spanish play of Schiller The opera first opened in 1867 in Paris and since then has been revamped multiple times to match librettos of the Italian and French. The Italian version is over four hours long but its length does not get tedious because the scenes are packed full of terrifying and awe inspiring action.
Jonas Kaufman is quite impressive as Don Carlos who opens the play wandering alone in the French woods until he comes across Princess Elizabeth, who has been betrothed to him. It’s a gentle opening but of course there is a twist because as the duo fall in love Princess Elizabeth’s father decides that she should marry Carlos’ father instead, which leads to a war over private happiness versus public duty.