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Verdi: Don Carlo, Auto da Fe

Here’s a hint: A Spanish spectacle on the operatic stage.

Many operas over the centuries have been set in the exotic country of Spain. Carmen, The Barber of Seville, and The Marriage of Figaro all among several operatic jewels that are set in the Spanish countryside. Perhaps one of the most over-the-top operas set in Spain is Verdi’s Don Carlo. The opera, although it’s a dramatic masterpiece, is seldom performed because it stretches the resources of any major opera house. Don Carlo originally premiered in a French version for the Paris Opera House and was later translated back into Italian. In this excerpt, a chorus of Spanish peasants is gathered outside of the cathedral in Valladolid and cheer on as convicted heretics are prepared to be burned at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition.

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