© Gregory Barnett – Opera News: “In set designer Johan Engels’ conception, the stage was dominated by crosses: giant crosses formed the forest of Act I and later stood in as abstract architectural pieces for indoor scenes; monks marched while holding large, heavy-looking black (and later red) crosses; the same red crosses surrounded Philippe in his palace study; and a glaring cross of brilliant red light formed the backdrop to the Act III auto-da-fé. As a complement to the oppressive presence of the church, costume designer Carl Friedrich Oberle created costumes that evoked a generic, modern-day police state with abundant military uniforms in view, except for those officials clad in trench coats in the manner of secret police. (…) The effect was vivid: the Spanish monarchy of Verdi’s opera emerged here as a totalitarian regime supported by a complicit Catholic Church whose rituals, sometimes brutal, punctuated public life.”

© Melvyn Schreiber – Galveston Daily News: “The sets were intelligently conceived, highlighted by huge crosses tilted at an angle to suggest the lack of uprightness in the church, and the stage was filled with religious robes and symbols of the authority of the church.”