Don Carlo

In William Berger’s tasty book Verdi With a Vengeance, an info-packed overview of the composer’s operas, his summary of the plot of Verdi’s sprawling historical epic Don Carlo runs 21 pages. It’s a hugely ambitious project even for a large-scale company. That the part-time Bellevue Opera is tackling it at all, much less on Meydenbauer Center’s cozy stage, is heroic. Admittedly, they’re staging the short version—a mere four hours long. Another 21 pages might be devoted merely to outlining the rewrites Verdi made of this work, first composed for the Paris Opéra in 1867 and truncated for Italian attention spans in 1884. The title character is the Infante of Spain; the woman he loves, Elisabeth de Valois, is married off to his father, King Philip II. Eeew! Things do not end happily, not with the Inquisition looming over everything. Sung in Italian with English titles; Jonathan Pasternack conducts. GAVIN BORCHERT

Fri., April 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., May 1, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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