The Grand Inquisitor is the Ayatollah Khameini, the King with all that power and no ability to see and understand, the Queen perhaps being all of us, observers grieving. And Don Carlo the stricken people of Iran.
The people of Iran truly did not want to destroy their country or overthrow the religious system. They simply wanted, as I heard one man say, to be more friendly with the world. Being met with rigidity, repression and cruelty rather than accommodation and flexibility, they can individually be overthrown/murdered. But time always runs out for those leaders whose rage and hatred toward their own people leads them many steps too far. And so it will be in Iran.
Thus the Grand Inquisitor (blind, in the opera), in his vicious righteousness, will lose everything, instead of actually enlarging his power through opening his culture. That which he fears he is actually creating day by day. And the King / Ahmadinejad is in love with power, wants more, wants to hear how great he is. Even if all is ashes around him.
This scenario is playing out, has played out, in so many places on this small and fragile globe of ours. Different players, different names. Agony, hunger, hopelessness for the citizens. The pattern over the 6 to 8 thousand years of the patriarchy. Where war has been seen as necessary and talk as weakness, where control and power, ala King Phillip, are what life is about.
And yet – do we remember his name? Except in this opera, where he is not a hero? The Ayatollah and the Iranian president could take a look at this infrequently performed opera, consider history, and make some new choices. Because change is coming to Iran, whether they will or no.