[Met Performance] CID:354049
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Anna Bolena {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 09/26/2011., Sirius and XM Broadcast live
Streamed at metopera.org
Taped for later telecast

(Opening Night {127}
Peter Gelb, General Manager
Debuts: Robert Jones, Jenny Tiramani
Broadcast/Streamed/Times Squarecast/Plazacast

Metropolitan Opera House
September 26, 2011 Broadcast/Streamed/Times Squarecast/Plazacast
Opening Night {127}

Peter Gelb, General Manager

Metropolitan Opera Premiere

Gaetano Donizetti--Felice Romani

Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn ).......Anna Netrebko
Giovanna (Jane Seymour).........Ekaterina Gubanova
Enrico (Henry VIII).............Ildar Abdrazakov
Riccardo (Lord Richard Percy)...Stephen Costello
Mark Smeaton....................Tamara Mumford
Lord Rochefort..................Keith Miller
Sir Hervey......................Eduardo Valdes

Conductor.......................Marco Armiliato

Production......................David McVicar
Set Designer....................Robert Jones [Debut]
Costume Designer................Jenny Tiramani [Debut]
Lighting Designer...............Paule Constable
Choreographer...................Andrew George

Production a gift of Mercedes and Sid Bass

The live transmissions to Times Square and the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center made possible by the City of New York, Bloomberg and the Metropolitan Opera Guild, public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council.

The public campaign to launch the 2011-12 season was underwritten by The Agnes Varis Trust

Anna Bolena received twelve performances this season.

Broadcast live on Sirius and XM Metropolitan Opera Radio
Streamed live at metopera.org
Transmitted to screens at Lincoln Center Plaza and Times Square

National Anthem played before performance

Production photos of Anna Bolena by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Review (unsigned) posted to the Huffington Post on September 28, 2011

Anna Bolena

For the first time in years opening night at the Metropolitan Opera was a total triumph.

What makes the achievement more remarkable is that the opera being performed is of historic significance but has none of the qualities that make for a staple of the repertory. In fact Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" was making its Met debut - 179 years after its premiere in Milan in 1830!!! It is dramatic, melodious and well-wrought, but compared to Donizetti's masterpieces, let alone those of his contemporary Bellini, it pales.

"Anna Bolena" is Donizetti's account of the unhappy final days of one of the early wives of King Henry VIII. 19th century opera librettists were not concerned with historical accuracy. They wanted plots that fit the conventions of their art, which was manufactured like Hollywood films a century later. I don't know the particulars of Ann Boleyn's ill-fated marital career but here it is depicted with the same grim relish as the fictional plot of "La Gioconda." It is the stuff of jealousy and revenge. Like other works of the "bel canto" period, it has a mad scene.

There is only one reason even to consider mounting it - a spectacular dramatic soprano. And the Met has one in Anna Netrebko. It is a score with a huge range and many treacheries, but at no point did the fearless Netrebko give any indication that there were difficulties. Her voice was sure and luminous throughout and at its most radiant in the dramatic outbursts. In a break with tradition Netrebko gets a solo call when the final curtain falls. The house went wild. There was an impression of almost girlish joyousness on her face as she realized what she had achieved.

The score presents similar difficulties for the others, but the Met assembled an impressively first rate team of singers. (A Russian friend noted, with pride, that three of them, including Netrebko, were Russian.) Ann's rival, Lady Jane Seymour, or Giovanna Seymour, is sung with enormous power and beauty by mezzo Ekaterina Gubanova. The fickle Henry was sung by Ildar Abdrazakov, who has a huge, beautiful bass voice.

American tenor Stephen Costello has a rich tenor voice, which negotiated the coloratura passages with great brio and the moments of passion with convincing fervor. American mezzo Tamara Mumford sang the role of the court minstrel Smeaton with enormous beauty and force.

The physical production by Robert Jones conveys the grace and formality of Tudor England beautifully. It is lit dramatically and somberly by Paule Constable. Jenny Tiramani's costumes are sumptuous, especially her gowns for the female rivals. David McVicar's staging is straightforward and effective, especially his final bit of business for Anna.

This was an evening that achieved brilliantly the restoration of an opera never destined for great popularity but immensely worthy of being remembered.

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