Top positive review
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A scintilating, dramatic, intense, beautiful production.
on 5 July 2014
Donizetti composed Opera full of light humour and beautiful love songs such as L' Elisir d'Amour, and other works such as Lucia di Lammermoor full of desperation and ending in tragedy. I recently attended the Metropolitan Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor at Teatro alla Scala, Milan. Anna Netrebko was unfortunately touring in concert but the production was the same, and I have the DVD. The Anna Bolena Opera was Donizetti's 31st completed in 1830, and amazingly, the first to be really successful during his lifetime.
Anna Netrebko plays beautiful Anna Bolena with a passion that is truly regal. This is a great contrast to the flirtatious country girl in L' Elisir d' Amour, but she is joined again by Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as King Henry V111. Here his humorous capabilities as the Doctor are also put aside, for a very serious and strong portrayal of a menacing monarch who allegedly stopped at nothing in his desire for a male heir. Anna Netrebko and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo show their brilliant versatility also in Le Nozze Di Figaro by Mozart, in a video directed also by Brian Large.
Elina Garanca is wonderful, giving an equally dramatic and beautifully spell binding performance as Giovanna Seymour. A Lady in waiting, Giovanna is the object of Enrico V111's affections and soon to replace Anna as Queen.
The Libretto by Felice Romani takes artistic licence with History, but the stress of her imminent execution induces a sense of unreality as Anna tries to comfort her young daughter Elizabeth, just as Lucia di Lammermoor is driven to madness. There is much confrontation and reverie throughout, but Anna begins the finale with the beautiful arias Piangete voi? and Al dolce guidami castrei natio, with the Chorus.
The young Minstrel Smeaton is played excellently by Elizabeth Kulman, with Dan Paul Dumitrescu as Lord Rochefort, Francesco Meli as Lord Riccardo Percy, and Peter Jelosits as Sir Harvey.
The supreme Chor, Orchester und Buhnenorchester der Wiener Staatsoper is conducted by Evelino Pido. The sumptuous 16th Century period costumes are designed by Luisa Spinatelli.
Intense drama and scintillating music demanding the pinnacle of vocal prowess, all captured on Blu-ray. What more is there to say?