Singers on Singing:
Thomas Hampson discusses Rodrigue in Verdi’s Don Carlos

Part of the Singers on Singing: Signature Roles Series

Header photo: Don Carlo at the Salzburg Festival in 2013 in a production directed by Peter Stein. Photo by Monika Rittershaus


Within his enormously wide-ranging repertoire of opera, oratorio, and art-song, Thomas Hampson has over a span of nearly four decades been especially famously acclaimed, both vocally and dramatically, as Rodrigue and Rodrigo – the Marquis of Posa – in the respective French and Italian language versions of Verdi’s epic opera Don Carlos and Don Carlo accordingly.  His panoramic experience performing in an unusually large number of varying stage productions of the opera has given him supplementary perspectives to contemplate beside his long-time meticulously researched and scrutinised historical, literary and musical immersion in this highly complex and profoundly powerful masterwork.  In this Signature Roles feature that focuses on Verdi’s original French version of the opera, Thomas Hampson brings his virtually unique experience and prowess singing Posa as the background to an extensive discussion of not only his own role but also the opera’s overall content, all its main characters, and also, in Part Four of the four sections in which the feature is presented, differences between the French and Italian versions.  All the music illustrations are drawn from the Warner Classics CD of the performance recorded live at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 1996, when Luc Bondy was the stage director of a new production conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano (the production is also available on DVD).

The singers were:

Philippe II – José van Dam
Don Carlos – Roberto Alagna
Elisabeth de Valois – Karita Mattila
Rodrigue – Thomas Hampson
Princesse Eboli – Waltraud Meier
L’Inquisiteur – Eric Halfvarson
Moine/Charles V – Csaba Airizer


This feature is divided into four parts, and the discourse proceeds through considered topics rather than in chronological order of opera scenes.  The music extracts are listed below each audio track.


10’26” – Act 2: Prelude – El Escorial

18’57” – Act 2: Rodrigue, Philippe

22’11” – Act 4: L’Inquisiteur, Philippe

31’11” – Act 4: Philippe, Elisabeth, Eboli, Rodrigue

34’03” – Act 2: Rodrigue, Elisabeth, Eboli

40’30” – Act 3: Eboli, Rodrigue, Don Carlos

43’46” – Act 4: Auto da fé – Don Carlos, Philippe, Elisabeth, Rodrigue

46’11” – Act 4: Rodrigue

47’42” – Act 4: L’Inquisiteur


06’55” – Act 4: Rodrigue, Eboli, Philippe, Elisabeth

09’54” – Act 4: Philippe, Don Carlos

19’22” – Act 4: Rodrigue, Don Carlos

25’17” – Act 2: Rodrigue, Philippe


06’01” – Act 4: Auto da fé – Don Carlos, Philippe, Elisabeth, Rodrigue (same as in Part One)

11’13” – Act 4: Auto da fé – Philippe, Le Peuple, Les Moines

20’44” – Act 2: Rodrigue, Don Carlos, Le choeur des Moines

26’51” – Act 2: Don Carlos, Elisabeth

27’40” – Act 1: Don Carlos, Elisabeth

39’00” – Act 5: Moine/Charles V, L’Inquisiteur, Gardes, Philippe, Elisabeth, Un choeur des Moines


06’11” – Act 4: Rodrigue

Included in


Singers on Singing: Signature Roles

Related Resources


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Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation