For Don Carlos, his life’s work, based on the theatre classic by Friedrich Schiller, Giuseppe Verdi composed a sensuous tragedy about the impossible love between the Spanish king's son Carlos and his young stepmother Elizabeth. In exchange for peace with France, she has married Carlos' father, the harsh Philip II. If there is anyone who can help Carlos out of his self-chosen role of victim, then it is his loyal friend Rodrigo, who, at risk of losing his life, commit himself to rebellious Flanders which is terrorized by Spain. This gives rise to a dangerous game of political interests and amorous intrigues.

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