16th century Spain. The beautiful days of Aranjuez never happened. The Inquisition is wreaking havoc. Although Philip II is ruling the kingdom where the sun never sets with an iron fist, he does not have his son, Don Carlos, under control. Not only does the father deprive his son of any parental love, but he then also marries Elisabeth of Valois, the woman promised to Don Carlos. For the sake of peace, he takes her as his wife, thereby making her the Queen of Spain – and his son’s stepmother. Don Carlos seeks the advice of his childhood friend, the Marquis of Posa, who misuses his hopelessness to convince him to take a stand for his own interests. What follows is a series of intrigues, all described by Friedrich Schiller in Don Carlos. Besides the love entanglements, these include the plans and strategies of the two power-seekers, the Duke of Alba and Father Domingo. A destructive mixture in which the Marquis of Posa plays a central role. At first, he breathes new life into the rigid power structures with his faith in friendship and his free-spirited honesty about what he believes to be true, but these qualities soon prove to be deceptive. Every rational ideal has an element of violence.
This father-son conflict with its great impact on world history occupied Friedrich Schiller from 1783 to 1787. In the course of these four years, it changed its aesthetic form several times, from a bourgeois tragedy to a so-called drama of ideas. It was first performed two years before the start of the French Revolution. With his characterisation of Posa, Schiller passes censure on the Enlightenment and shows how fragile idealism has always been and how dangerous noble causes are. The following years only strengthened his opinion. Don Carlos has a hinge position of sorts within Schiller’s body of work: between Sturm und Drang and Weimar Classicism. It is a message from a time with a concept of politics less narrow than today that did not fail to factor in love.
Don Carlos is a production taken over from the Residenztheater Munich.