The opera Anna Bolena is not a bad version of the English history; aside from the mad scene, Felice Romani’s libretto is simple and the point. Anna Bolena, Paolo Fabbri,ed. includes links to various online libretto sites. Opera Rara have started to include librettos and English. Listing is confusing. Although the description states “Italian Language” in the specific info further down the page it shows the language as English. I assusmed .

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Librteto Opera Quarterly bolen Dimitra Theodossiou Sir Hervey: Cristiano Olivieri Giovanna Seymour: Gavazzeni’s liberal cuts banished the sinfonia, excised chunks of the Seymour-Enrico duet in act 1, foreshortened the first-act finale, and completely omitted the double aria for Percy in the Tower of London. Dynamic’s new recording contains every note in the Ricordi piano-vocal score and even expands the cadences of the act 2 trio with material not to be found in there.

However, with the exception of the last-mentioned minor addition, the complete score may be heard in the versions by Beverly Sills Deutsche Grammophon and Joan Sutherland London annna The last of these, incidentally, boasts the best of the recorded Enricos in Samuel Ramey. The booklet that accompanies Dynamic’s recording contains a libretto in Italian and English, but it only gives details about the conductor, not the singers.

Anna Bolena

As Anne Boleyn, Dimitra Theodossiou proves diligent, but as far as characterization goes she communicates little more than a sense of bewilderment. Vocally she is at her best in the beautiful act 1 sextet, “In quegli sguardi impresso. All in all, her performance is creditable but not particularly interesting. Comparatively speaking, mezzo Sonia Ganassi makes more of an impression as Jane Seymour, a role she first assumed in Bologna in She is incisive in the two big duets, first with Enrico, then in act 2 with Anna.


Her second-act scena is emotionally convincing and quite well sung, right up to a bright high B. Fabio Sartori, the Percy, is over his depth. He reaches the top Cs in his two cabalettas libeetto using head tones that seem unrelated to the rest of his voice. Andrea Papi presents a plausible Henry VIII, but this unscrupulous monarch attains levels of seductiveness and irascible deviousness barely suggested in this interpretation.

As Anna’s brother, Rochefort, Paolo Battaglia hasn’t much to do, but that little he performs expeditiously. As the obnoxious head of the council, Hervey, the tenorino Cristiano Olivieri is unfailingly disagreeable. Maestro Severini manages on the whole to shape a well-proportioned reading of Donizetti’s score.

Anna Bolena | Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma

The prompter is in very clear voice. In the finale, the [End Page ] gunshots added to the music celebrating the king’s marriage to Jane Seymour suggest the start of an insurrection; in a few other recordings, a bit of off-stage cheering creates a less ambiguous effect. This recording is not without merit, but it is up against some stiff competition.


In spite of their cuts, both the Callas and the Gencer versions with Gavazzeni more powerfully project the drama of Felice Romani’s extraordinary libretto.

Those of Ana and Sutherland are strongly cast and better sung than this contender. I doubt if I will play it very often.

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Donizetti Society Scores and Librettos Page

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