Donizetti's masterpiece, Anna Bolena, follows the tragic last days in the life of Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII. Featuring one of the greatest duets in the operatic repertoire, "Sul suo capo aggravi un Dio," this opera features beautiful music and a powerful story. Reserve your own Anna Bolena tickets to witness this gem performed live.
Anna Bolena Information
About the Show:
Anna Bolena is an opera in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti that follows the last days of Anne Boleyn. It is one of a few operas written by Donizetti that focus on the Tudor period in English royal history. Others include Roberto Devereux (about the rumored lover of Queen Elizabeth I) and Maria Stuarda (about Mary, Queen of Scots). The lead females in these three plays have come to be collectively known as the "Three Donizetti Queens." The duet in Anna Bolena between Anna and Jane Seymour, "Sul suo capo aggravi un Dio," is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in the whole of the operatic canon.
Anna Bolena premiered at the Teatro Carcano in Milan on December 26, 1830. Shortly thereafter, in July of 1831, it premiered at the King's Theatre in London, and it November of 1839, it made its United States debut at the Theatre d'Orleans in New Orleans. The opera was produced very seldom during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, but it was famously revived in a lavish 1957 production at La Scala for the eminent soprano Maria Callas, and it turned out to be one of her greatest performances. Other famous interpretations of the role have been done by Leyla Gencer, Renata Scotto, Mariella Devia, and Beverly Sills. Anna Bolena is now frequently performed, including by New York's Metropolitan Opera. Get your Anna Bolena tickets today to experience this gripping story live.
Act I, Scene I: Night has fallen at Windsor Castle and in Queen Anna's apartments, her courtiers are suggesting that her time on the throne may be coming to an end because the king has found another love. Jane Seymour, the Queen's lady in waiting, enters, and Anna admits that she has been troubled of late. She requests that her page, Smeton, play the harp and sing to life everyone's spirits, but she quickly asks him to cease. In an aside, the Queen admits to herself that she still has feelings for her first love and that she is unhappily living a vain and empty life. All leave but Jane. King Henry VIII enters and tells Jane that she is to be the new queen.
Act I, Scene II: The next day, around Windsor Castle, Anna's brother, Lord Rochefort, encounters Lord Richard Percy, her first love who has been called back from exile by the King. Rochefort confirms to Percy that Anna is unhappy and that the king has changed. The King and Queen enter and express shock at seeing Percy. Henry refuses to let Percy kiss his hand, but says that Anna vouches for his innocence. Henry tells his officer, Hervey, to watch Anna's and Percy's every move.
Act I, Scene III: In the castle, near the Queen's apartments, Smeton produces a locket with a picture of the Queen that he has stolen but wishes to return. he hears a noise, so he hides behind a screen. Anna and Rochefort enter and Rochefort asks Anna to speak with Percy. She agrees and Rochefort leaves while Percy enters. When Percy explains that he still loves her, Anna admits that she is unhappy and that the king now hates her, but refuses to see Percy again. Percy draws his sword to impale himself and Anna screams, causing Smeton to rush to her aid. Just as Smeton and Percy are about to fight, Anna faints and Rochefort enters. Just then, the King enters and, seeing unsheathed swords, tells his attendants that these people have betrayed him. When Smeton swears that it is not true, the locket with Anna's portrait falls to the King's feet. Snatching it up, he orders that the men be taken to the dungeon. In an aside, Anna tells herself that she is doomed.
Act II, Scene I:In a vestibule of the Queen's chambers, the guards comment that Jane Seymour has not been seen with Anna. Accompanied by a group of ladies, Anna enters, taking their counsel that she should place her trust in heaven. Hervey calls for the ladies to see the Council of Peers, and as they leave, Jane enters. She tells Anna that is she admits guilt, she will be spared, but Anna proudly refuses. Jane reveals that she is to be Anna's successor, and Anna tells her to leave, but says that Henry alone is to blame. Jane, visibly upset, exits.
Act II, Scene II: In the antechamber of the meeting room of the Council of Peers, Hervey announces that Anna is doomed because Smeton has revealed a crime. When Henry enters, Hervey informs him that Smeton has fallen into his trap, and Henry tells Hervey to allow Smeton to continue believing he has saved Anna. Percy and Anna are brought in separately and Henry accuses Anna of sleeping with Smeton, and says that there are witnesses. He condemns both Anna and Percy to death and they are taken away while Percy pledges his undying love to Anna. Jane enters and begs not to be the cause of Anna's death, but Henry says she can not save her by leaving. Hervey announces that the Council of Peers has dissolved the royal marriage and sentenced Anna and her accomplices to die. Jane and the courtiers beg for mercy, but he orders them to leave.
Act II, Scene III: In a cell in the Tower of London, Percy and Rochefort wait until Hervey enters, telling them they have been pardoned. They refuse; if Anna must die, so will they. In Anna's cell, a chorus of ladies tells of her grief-stricken madness. When she enters, she imagines that it is the day of her wedding to the king. Then she imagines that she sees Percy and begs him to take her back home. Smeton, Rochefort, and Percy are led in. Smeton is riddled with guilt and apologizes, saying that he thought he was saving her life by falsely admitting guilt. At the sound of a cannon shot, Anna comes back to reality. She is told that Henry and Jane are celebrating their wedding day, but she does not wish them harm, and she faints. The prisoners are led to the block. Rochefort, Percy, and Smeton sorrowfully comment that one innocent victim has already been sacrificed.
Run Time:4 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission
Advisory:Due to length and seriousness of content, most appropriate for teens and older.
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