March 11, 1867 – Theatre Imperial de l’Opera, France
DON CARLO started out life as a five-act opera that ran for approximately four hours. Based on Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien by Friedrich Spiller, this lengthy piece saw Verdi put the music to a French libretto by Camille du Lode and Joseph Mery. After the opera had been written, it was found to still be too long during the rehearsal period. Since the audience would need to leave before midnight, further cuts were made during this time in order to make sure that the opera finished before this deadline.
March 11, 1851 – La Fenice Opera House, Italy
One of the most acclaimed Verdi operas, RIGOLETTO at one point, was very much a case of “touch and go”. The three-act opera, based on Victor Hugo’s play “Le roi s’amuse”, came under close scrutiny of the Austrian censors. …However, by January 1851, a breakthrough was reached, albeit with a number of amendments to the original work. The original setting of the royal court of France was to be changed either to a duchy of France or Italy, while many of the characters were to be renamed, notably the jester, who went from Triboulet to Rigoletto. With the deadline for the premiere looming, Verdi managed to complete the work by early February, leaving a month to spare.