The Spanish royal court is gripped by an icy coldness: For reasons of politics, the heir to the throne, Don Carlo has lost his bride Elisabetta to his father, the Spanish king. The crown prince is also thwarted in his political ambitions. The king, on the other hand, is powerless against the fiercely devout Grand Inquisitor. It seems that only Carlos’s friend Rodrigo can break free of these political and private constraints. But his bold dream of freedom leads to catastrophe. Giuseppe Verdi explores his great theme, the incompatibility of politics and private happiness, through almost all the characters in this opera, which premiered in 1867. For modern audiences it paints an oppressively topical social panorama. In cooperation with the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Semperoper presents »Don Carlo« in the four-act Italian version of 1884, supplemented by a new instrumental prologue by composer Manfred Trojahn, which sets up the background to the drama.