| opera |
Stage direction by Stefano Simone Pintor

"An impressive staging
that triggered goosebumps in the spectators."
Kirsten Benekam, PNP Regionalausgaben, 06.19.2018


Music Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle

Conductor Lorenzo Coladonato
Stage director Stefano Simone Pintor
Set designers Stefano Simone Pintor, Walter Ulrich
Costume designers Kerstin Rossbander
Video designer Maximilian Ulrich
Lighting designer Arndt Sellentin
Dramaturg Florian Maier
Orchestra Festivalorchester Immling
Choir Festivalchor Immling

Filippo II Oleksandr Pushniak
Don Carlo Héctor López
Rodrigo Sławomir Kowalewski
Der Großinquisitor Gelu Dobrea
Ein Mönch Givi Gigineishvili
Elisabetta di Valois Anna Patrys
Die Prinzessin Eboli Kate Allen
Tebaldo Anastasia Churakova
Stimme vom Himmel Keiko Obai
Die Gräfin vom Aremberg Sabine Lutter
Der Graf von Lerma Le Wang
Ein königlicher Herold Aliahmad Ibrahimov
Flandrische Deputierte Beka Abulashvili, Mikheil Edisherashvili, Alois Fürmaier, Givi Gigineishvili, Zurabi Natroshvili, Bartosz Szulc

The production was staged at the Immling Festival, Bavaria (Germany) during summer 2018.

The reason of State must not oppose the state of Reason.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

A sentence that contains the essence of "Don Carlo" in a short and concise way. From the first moments in the convent of San Jerónimo de Yuste to the final confrontation at the same place, the presence of Charles V in Verdi's opera is tangible - if not physically, but a fortiori because of his legacy.
While the reign of Charles V passed to his son Filippo, the concept of the "reason of state" has lost nothing of its explosiveness. Who decides in which situations and for what reasons the rights of the state are to be valued higher than the interests of the individual? In the status quo of the social order, this question does not even arise - the power of the church and of the thereby legitimized state is already given by the divine plan of the world. The fact that man as an individual is oppressed thereby and is forced into a certain life depending on his social status is irrelevant. A king has to play his role as well as a monk or a citizen. There is hardly any room for the personal arrangement of relationships between fathers and sons, between friends or lovers.
Reason of state versus state of Reason, power versus soul - a gap that takes shape in our staging with the help of two metaphors. The reason of State finds its embodiment in the chair as a universal symbol of power. Everybody - whether intentionally or unintentionally - occupies a certain position in life and thus also takes a seat on "his" or "her" chair. Chairs open up an almost global interpretation context much stronger than culturally connoted insignia such as crowns, scepters or crosses in the sense of religious influence. On the other hand, the light motive stands as a symbol of the soul with all its shades, as can be seen in particular in the figure of Don Carlo. He speaks in his performances again and again of shadows and ghosts. The dreams of a life with Elisabetta, which could have been, turn into the abyss of a desperate soul.
An almost empty but meaningful space, continually transformed with the help of two symbolic elements within a simple theatrical language, filled with life through the relationships of the actors on the stage. Verdi composed "Don Carlo" within the traditional system of the "grand opéra" and all its elaborate and spectacular design tools - but rather the characters, the people were in the focus of his interest. In this sense, we concentrate on the very same to expand into the essence of the opera.


"The stage director Stefano Simone Pintor knows the house from his successful production "I vespri siciliani" of the previous year and he proves once again, with a cleverly balanced "Don Carlo", that he has a good talent for Verdi. The Italian knows how to deal with the particularity of this stage in a smart way and he knows how to conjure impressive pictures without great stage technology. Which by no means only refers to the grand tableaux of the autodafé scene fervently offered by the Immling choir, but above all the intimate second and third acts that dominate in this four-act Italian version of Verdi's and Schiller's drama. The abstract unitary space, designed by Pintor himself together with Walter Ulrich, let the audience clearly focus on the events and it puts the performers in the spotlight. Starting with the friendship duet, in which Carlo and Posa, using the edges of the imperial orb cross as a knife, cut each other's palms to swear blood brotherhood, up to the beautiful shadow plays, which link the whole evening like a red thread."

Tobias Hell
Münchner Merkur, 06.18.2018

"The difficulties which such an opera presents are brilliantly passed. This is not least due to the clear focus of the staging: the story of the Spanish heir to the throne Don Carlo who becomes the enemy of his father, King Filippo II, out of his dubious love for his stepmother Elisabetta, gets caught up in the political fight between power and reason, in the question of what political responsibility means. Verdi's grand opéra thus becomes the tragic struggle of the individual with the abysses of power. Nowhere is this more evident than in the meeting between Filippo II (Oleksandr Pushniak) and the Grand Inquisitor (Gelu Dobrea) in the third act. While the senile churchman, in his inexorable belief in power, even rises from his wheelchair, the powerful figure of the bass Oleksandr Pushniak collapses. It is one of the strongest images of the extremely ambitious staging of the director Stefano Simone Pintor, which creates both reduced and catchy scenes. This is also due to the extremely successful stage design. It consists of a single gray, iceberg-like projecting surface protruding from the stage. The struggle between power and reason can unfold in ever new variations of light and shadow, supported by a clever color concept."

Thomas Jordan
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 06.18.2018

"Pintor's clearly structured staging is full of symbolism. The ghost of the deceased emperor Karl V, father of Filippo II, and his statement "The reason of State must not oppose the state of Reason" hover over the entire drama. The drama begins and ends at its grave. The set design (Stefano Simone Pintor and Walter Ulrich) is a reflection of political, personal and ecclesiastical tyranny - a labyrinth of souls. The singer and choir move in a four-level "geometrical structure" that fills the entire stage, amplified by means of light and shadow, colored lighting and video design (Arndt Sellentin and Maximilian Ulrich). The costume design (Kerstin Rossband) has been kept in simple shades of gray: the focus on the essentials remains unrestricted. The mass scenes fit in well-elaborated movement choreography, drawing powerful images of a gray mass of people or monks, who always give the scenes a dramatic impres- sion at the right moment and in appropriate rhythm. In addition, Pintor plays artfully with sophisticated shadow, both in small and oversized projection. At the gate of the Inquisition, heretics burn down on a pyre made out of the same chairs they previously used, as a metaphor to the individuals who have lost their place in the society and have fallen prey to the Church's power. An impressive comparison that triggered goosebumps in the spectators."

Kirsten Benekam
PNP Regionalausgaben, 06.19.2018
Artist Manager

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