Gaetano Donizetti

Gaetano Donizetti

8, 10, 13, 16  December, 2016
8.30 pm.






Angela Meade, considered the “new star of the Metropolitan Opera” of New York will be Anna Bolena for the four performances between December 8 and 16. Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), composed one of the most beautiful and moving lyric tragedies of all bel canto. Seen on stage for the first time in 1830, the story recreates the life of the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. 

The production is from the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona/Fondazione Arena di Verona and aside from Angel Meade, the cast includes Ketevan Kemoklidze, Ismael Jordi, Simón Orfila, Stefano Palatchi, Alexandra Rivas and Manuel de Diego. Stage direction is by ingenious Graham Vick. Mauricio Benini, a specialist in this repertory, and who conducted a memorable Norma in Seville, returns to the Teatro de la Maestranza to lead the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra (ROSS). 

Henry VIII, King of England, has divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn. In the libretto Anne gave up her true love, Richard Percy, to become queen. The action of the opera takes place in 1536, three years after Anne's marriage 

Scene one. Windsor Castle
 It is late at night and the King (Enrico) has not yet appeared in Queen Anne’s (Anna) apartments. The courtiers suspect the king has a lover and they fear for the future of their Queen. Jane Seymour (Giovanna), who is the Queen's lady-in-waiting, has been summoned and enters. Jane is troubled because she is the woman receiving the affections of the King.  The Queen enters and is distressed by the silence with which she is met. She asks her page Mark Smeaton (Smeton) -  who is secretly in love with her - to play a song to lift their spirits. The song is a bad omen; it brings back the memory of her first love Richard Percy, whom she has never stopped loving.When Anne retires with her ladies, Jane returns to the chambers which are now in semidarkness. Although she is secure in the secret of her relationship with the King, nonetheless the woman is profoundly dismayed by the damage it has caused. There is a knock at the door. She opens a secret passage and the King comes in. Jane begs him that this be the last of their adulterous encounters and Henry agrees. Their love must be made public. Jane is disturbed by this; she wants to protect her own reputation and says that their love can only be known if they marry. The King assures her that her honour will remain intact and he promises Jane a wedding, the throne and the Royal Mace.  She asks how but the King is elusive.  

Scene Two. The park of Windsor Castle at dawn.
Lord Rochefort, Anne’s brother, is most surprised to meet his old friend Percy who explains the King has recalled him from exile. When Rochefort tells Percy that Anne has fallen from favour, Percy laments how painful his exile has been. A group of hunters, pages and nobles prepare for hunting with the King. When the King appears, Anne implores him to accept her back.  The King speaks in a menacing tone: not having spent much time with  the Queen recently he wants to keep an eye on her. When he sees Percy, he denies having recalled him. This is part of the King's trap for Anne. He pronounces it was Anne's doing because she is convinced of Percy's innocence and encouraged him to ask pardon of the King.  Percy falls at the Queen's feet and kisses her hand. Such intimate behaviour causes the Queen embarrassment but this is exactly what the King has in mind.  Rochefort tries to control Percy while the King orders Hervey to remain on the alert for whatever evidence might incriminate his wife. The hunting party leaves and it seems that Percy will remain at court. 

Scene Three. The chambers of the Queen Smeaton is in the Queen's bedroom.
He is captivated by her beauty and is deeply in love with her. Having stolen a miniature portrait of Anne, he wants to return it before anyone notices its disappearance. However, the boy spends too long looking at the picture and when he hears voices approaching along the corridor, he must hide.  
The Queen and Rochefort come into view, the latter has convinced his sister to grant an audience to Percy. The Queen expected Percy to be angry that she had abandoned him for the King, but Percy recognizes her pain. Forgetting his anger, he says he loves her more than ever. The Queen tries to control her growing passion. She reminds Percy she is the wife of the King and begs him to leave England immediately. Percy is desperate, he draws his sword to kill himself. Smeaton has been observing the scene from his hiding place. He rushes out, drawing his sword to defend his Queen. Anne faints as Rochefort reappears to announce the arrival of the King. This situation is most advantageous for the King. In the presence of the courtiers, Henry arrives to find two men with their swords drawn for battle because they are both in love with the Queen. Smeaton denies his love but unfortunately he drops the miniature of the Queen. That is proof enough for the King to accuse them all. Anne declares she is innocent but the King orders her arrest. He tells her to save her defense for the Council of judges. Horrified, the Queen realizes her fate has been sealed. She is escorted to prison, accompanied by Percy, Smeaton and her brother Rochefort. 

Scene One. The antechamber of Anna's cell in the Tower of London
The ladies-in-waiting declare their total loyalty to the Queen. They comment that the courtiers and even Jane Seymour have abandoned Anne. Anne appears. Hervey enters with the order from the King that her retinue of ladies are to be taken to the Council Chamber to give testimony.  Alone, Anne prays. Jane enters, she tries to convince the Queen to confess as this may be the only way Anna's life will be spared. Anne is disdainful. Rejecting the advice, she asks the name of the King's new love. She hopes the woman will be punished by God with the same torment as herself. Hearing she has been cursed, Jane becomes ever more distressed and finally confesses. At first Anne pushes her away. Then the Queen understands Jane's sincerity and feels pity for her. Anne declares the only guilty person is the King himself. Jane becomes even more anxious with Anne's forgiveness; she leaves in a state of extreme agitation. 

Scene Two. Vestibule outside the Council Chamber where Anne is being tried
The courtiers converse about the trial. Although Smeaton is young and inexperienced, they are convinced the boy will not give in during the questioning. However, Hervey comes out of the Chamber to announce that Smeaton has confessed everything. Any chance of Anne being freed has disappeared.  The King appears and talks with Hervey. The boy was tricked in his testimony, he believed his confession would save the Queen.  Anne and Percy are brought in. Henry passes through and his wife intercedes. She makes a final plea that Henry spare her of the humiliation of a public trial.  The King declares that Anne and Percy are guilty, they must both die. Percy tries desperately to save his beloved. He states that before Anne was Henry's wife, she was legally engaged to him. Anne remains quiet, she neither confirms nor negates Percy's words. Henry is enraged.  This last sign of betrayal must be punished with their execution. The guards escort the pair back to their cells while Henry asks himself if this assertion by Percy could possibly be true. Jane enters, she is overcome with remorse and begs for Anne's life.  Before the King has a chance to answer, the session in the Council Chamber concludes. The courtiers gather round to hear Hervey proclaim the verdict: Anne and her accomplices are to be executed.  The courtiers and Jane plea for mercy. Henry asks for time to consider their petition. 

Scene Three. A vestibule in the Tower of London
Percy and Rochefort are in custody. Percy laments he will be the cause of his friend's death.  Rochefort answers he deserves this outcome because he was the one who encouraged Anne to become queen. Hervey enters to tell them that they have been pardoned but the Queen will be beheaded. Percy says he will die with her and tries to convince Rochefort to accept the King's pardon. But Rochefort chooses death as well. While the two friends return to their cells, the ladies-in- waiting express their sorrow for Anne. The Queen comes in; she has lost leave of her senses and thinks it is her wedding day with Henry. She is worried Percy will appear and reproach her betrayal to him. Yet, when she imagines Percy there, he smiles at her. This mental state takes Anne back to her family home, the moment of first meeting Percy and then falling in love with him. Her delirium disappears at the sound of a drum roll. She says good bye to Percy and Rochefort. When Smeaton says he was the only one who betrayed her, Anne becomes delirious again. She imagines the boy's harp is out of tune and that its song is the lament of her own wounded heart. She prays to heaven for the last time. The festive music celebrating Henry and Jane's wedding is heard. Anne returns to her senses. First she curses the couple but then she stops herself, she will die having forgiven them. The pain grows within Anne and she loses consciousness just as the officials arrive to escort the prisoners to the gallows. 

Ficha Técnica
Stage Director GRAHAM VICK
Set and Costume designer PAUL BROWN
Lighting Designer GIUSEPPE DI IORIO
REAL ORQUESTA SINFÓNICA DE SEVILLA Artistic and Musical Director, John Axerold
Ficha Artística
Lord Riccardo Percy ISMAEL JORDI

Thursday 8, Saturday 10, Tuesday 13, Friday 16 December, 2016
8.30 pm.

WEEKDAYS WD (Sun. to Thu.)
WEEKEND WE (Fri. and Sat.)

Stalls (Patio) WD 116€ / WE 125€
Balcony (1ª Balcón) WD 111€ / WE 120€
Balcony (2ª Balcón) WD 100€ / WE 107€
Terrace (1ª Terraza) WD 88€ / WE 95€
Terrace (2ª Terraza) WD 76€ / WE 82€
Slips (1ª Paraíso) WD 70€ / WE 76€
Slips (2ª Paraíso) WD 59€ / WE 63€
Slips (3ª Paraíso) WD 46€ / WE 50€

BUY TICKETS ONLINE: July 4, 2016. Possibility of printing tickets at home using the "ticket en casa" system.

Box Office. Paseo de Cristóbal Colón 22. 10.00 am-2.00pm. 5.30 - 8.30pm. Monday to Saturday and show days. Purchase of 4 tickets maximum per person.

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