Verdi’s Original Don Carlos In La Plata

ArgentinaArgentina  Verdi, Don Carlos: Soloists and Orchestra of Teatro Argentino,  Alejo Pérez(conductor), Teatro Argentino, La Plata, Argentina, 18.11.2011. (JSJ)


Director/costumes: Francesco Esposito
Sets/lighting: Enrique Bordolini
Chorus: Miguel Martínez
Choreography: Noelia Negrete


Don Carlos: Luca Lombardo / Enrique Folger
Elizabeth de Valois: Carla Filipcic Holm / Florencia Fabris
Princess Éboli: Elena Sommer / Eugenia Fuente
Marquis de Posa: Krum Galabov / Omar Carrión
Philip II: Rubén Amoretti / Savio Sperandio
Grand Inquisitor: José Antonio García / Emiliano Bulacios
Thibault: Fabiola Massino / Ximena Ibarrolaza
Monk: Mario De Salvo / Roy David Pullen Llermanos
Voice from Heaven: Victoria Gaeta / Marina Silva
Count de Lerma: Darío Leoncini / Maximiliano Agatiello
Royal Herald: Sergio Spina / Arnaldo Quiroga
Corifeo: Oreste Chlopecki / Claudio Rotella

From l. Krum Galabov (Posa), Luca Lombardo (Don Carlos), Rubén Amoretti (Philip II) and Carla Filipcic Holm (Elizabeth). Photo Teatro Argentino.

With a number of “firsts” under its belt during 2011, including an outstanding local premiere of Tristan und Isolde, hopes were high for another large scale work in Verdi’s Don Carlos, which the Teatro Argentino had chosen to close its season.

Slated as the original five act version (in French) – and as such the South American premiere of the work – there was some immediate confusion with the synopsis in the hand program and the presentation itself in three acts (with two, three and three scenes respectively) with intervals between the two “acts.”

Not that this made any practical difference to the flow, but either way though, it is a long work, lasting the better part of 4 hours (without the intervals) – excluding the ‘La Pérégrina’ ballet, which was not performed. Indeed, in this production this reviewer attended it was even longer, due to a power cut occurring shortly after the start of the second scene of the second act (the start of Act 3 in five act format), apparently affecting a large part of the city. Fortunately power was restored within some minutes and after a system reset, the scene was started afresh to continue with no further hitch.

This production by Italian producer Francesco Esposito, with scenography by Enrique Bordolini, was based around a set of wooden terrace structures, which served as the framework for the different scenes and from which the action was overlooked. Given the year of the action, 1559, it was broadly appropriate, although not for all the scenes. The dress too was appropriate.

Musically the work was also mixed, with Alejo Perez once again showing his mastery of these dramatic scores, maintaining a good dynamic and tension throughout. Carla Filipcic Holm was a strong Elizabeth, with fine timbre across the range. French tenor Luca Lombardo coped well with the demands of Don Carlos, and Spanish bass Rubén Amoretti had good presence as Philip II, if not always the vocal authority. Compatriot José Antonio García was also a striking Grand Inquisitor, not only with his height but also with vocal colour.

However, Bulgarian Krum Galabov was less satisfactory as Posa, with only moments of outstanding sonority and colour amid longer phrases that were barely audible. Also the Russian mezzo Elena Sommer, while vocally sound, was less so in her acting.

The other parts were well sung, notably Fabiola Masino’s Thibault and Victoria Gaeta’s Voice from Heaven, and the chorus was also in good form.

Jonathan Spencer Jones