Don Carlos is a five-act grand opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a French-language libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle, based on the dramatic play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien (Don Carlos, Infante of Spain) by Friedrich Schiller. The opera is most often performed in Italian translation, usually under the title Don Carlo.
The opera's story is based on conflicts in the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias (1545–1568). Though he was betrothed to Elisabeth of Valois, part of the peace treaty ending the Italian War of 1551–59 between the Houses of Habsburg and Valois demanded that she be married instead to his father Philip II of Spain. It was commissioned and produced by the Théâtre Impérial de l'Opéra (Paris Opera) and given its premiere at the Salle Le Peletier on March 11, 1867.
The first Italian version given in Italy was in Bologna in March 1867. Revised again by Verdi, it was given in Naples in November/December 1872. Finally, two other versions were prepared: the first was seen in Milan in January 1884 (in which the four acts were based on some original French text which was then translated). That is now known as the "Milan version", while the second—also sanctioned by the composer—became the "Modena version" and was presented in that city in December 1886. It restored the "Fontainebleau" first act to the Milan four-act version.
Over the following twenty years, cuts and additions were made to the opera, resulting in a number of versions being available to directors and conductors. No other Verdi opera exists in so many versions. At its full length (including the ballet and the cuts made before the first performance), it contains close to four hours of music and is Verdi's longest opera.
Don Carlos – Placido Domingo
Elizabeth – Montserrat Caballe
Rodrigo – Sherrill Milnes
Eboli – Shriley Verrett
RCA – 1971
Carlo Maria Giullini - conductor