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22 Oct 2004

FT Reviews Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera

Don Carlos, Vienna State Opera By Larry L Lash Published: October 22 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 22 2004 03:00 Despite character motivation and plot development of revelatory clarity and depth, top-notch singing, gorgeous orchestral playing and insightful conducting,...

Don Carlos, Vienna State Opera

By Larry L Lash
Published: October 22 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 22 2004 03:00

Despite character motivation and plot development of revelatory clarity and depth, top-notch singing, gorgeous orchestral playing and insightful conducting, the Vienna State Opera's new Don Carlos may be best remembered for the pizza.

Giuseppe Verdi by BoldoniThe pies are delivered by Rodrigue, wearing a Posa's Pizza uniform, after Eboli burns the chicken she is roasting.

What does a dream sequence in which Eboli sees herself as a suburban 1960s housewife, married to Carlos and pregnant, hosting a dinner party for good buddies Elisabeth and Philippe, have to do with the plot? Probably a great deal more than the ballet performed to the same bubbly music at the 1867 Paris premiere.

Remarkably, this is the world premiere of Verdi's uncut original version. The director, Peter Konwitschny, takes the divertissement for what it is - literally, a diversion - and uses it not only as a comic break from this deadly serious story but also to illustrate Eboli's unrequited, all-consuming love for Carlos.

[Remainder of article here (subscription to Financial Times Online required)]

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