DENVER — Verdi's "Don Carlo" stirs up the deepest emotions, with its complex political plot, its layered themes, its haunting and reverent music. Innocent love thwarted by the machinations of the state, the Grand Inquisition thwarted not only by political liberals but by divine intervention, father-son rivalry, and dark plots all emerge in the lavish and exquisite music of "Don Carlo," rigorously conducted by Janos Acs. Ukrainian tenor Vyacheslav Polozov's Don Carlo and bass-baritone Justino Diaz as the many-faceted tyrant, Philip II, wrung profound feeling from the music. Dimitri Kavrakos's Grand Inquisitor seemed to pull menace out of the music.
But the season's great delight was Donizetti's romp through love and self-delusion, Elisir D'Amore" (The Elixir of Love). It found its brightest lights in the performances of Sheryl Woods as the tease Adina, and in Stephen West's comical and expansive Dr. Dulcamara, the quack.