“16th-century Spain. State and church are engaged in a ruthless struggle for dominance over the people. The greatest victim in all of this is none other than the king’s son, the prince Don Carlos. He is the one who dares to love, to step up for the freedom of the oppressed people and to oppose both the church and the state, shaking up their system of power… Verdi is the only composer, bar none, for whom individual freedom could have become so important. With this opera, he paints a frightening picture of human civilisation.” So says Frank Hilbrich, the German director of Don Carlos, the work to open Christian Spirit Festival which can be considered the essence of the thematic season.