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Opera

Anna Bolena

Opera in two acts
Gaetano Donizetti
Magdalena Łazarkiewicz
Tomasz Tokarczyk
3 hours 15 minutes

details

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duration
3 hours 15 minutes | 1 intermission
composer
Gaetano Donizetti
libretto
Felice Romani
World premiere
Milan, Teatro Carcano, 26 December 1830
Polish premiere
Kraków, 1840
premiere at the Krakow Opera
25 May 2018
language
Sung in the original Italian, with Polish surtitles
collaboration
The show has been produced in collaboration with the Grand Theatre in Łódź
description
This is a story of English queen, the second wife of Henry VIII, who will be beheaded as a result of the next romance of the king. The opera portrays the protagonist in the period when she is devoid of mercy. The story revolves around court intrigues, supposed to prove the titular character’s alleged betrayal, which is an excuse to sentence her. The great and well-written libretto allowed Donizetti to develop his talent in composing attractive arias, duets and ensemble scenes up to the great, final scene of the character's madness.

The opera requires artistry from the titular character – in the premiere, which took place in 1830 in the Teatro Carcano in Milan, the legendary Giuditta Pasta performed with success, and the piece immediately brought fame to the composer. Other prominent performers were Maria Callas, Monserrat Caballé, Joan Sutherland, Anna Netrebko, and Joanna Woś.

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poster by
Piotr Suchodolski

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producers
Music director: Tomasz Tokarczyk
Director: Magdalena Łazarkiewicz
Set designer: Paweł Dobrzycki
Costume designer: Maria Balcerek
Choir master: Jacek Mentel
Lighting and multimedia designer: Piotr Lenar

Music director’s assistants: Paweł Szczepański, Mieczysław Unger
Director’s assistant: Dagmar Bilińska-Korban
Chorus master’s assistant: Joanna Wójtowicz
Stage managers: Agnieszka Sztencel, Justyna Jarocka-Lejzak
Prompters: Dorota Sawka, Maria Mitkowska
Soloists’ coaches: Kristina Kutnik, Katarzyna Starzycka, Olga Tsymbaluk, Joachim Kołpanowicz
Chorus accompanist: Wioletta Fluda
Surtitles translated by Dorota Sawka
cast

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Category A
Marshal’s Balcony
120 zł
Amphitheatre Rows IV-IX
85 zł
Amphitheatre Rows I-III and X-XII
65 zł
Amphitheatre Side seats and rows XIII - XIV, Right-hand and left-hand side boxes (level 1), Balcony level II rows I and II
40 zł
Balcony level II Rows III and IV
30 zł
Attention! Visible ticket prices are valid for performances within the regular repertoire of the Krakow Opera.

Different ticket prices apply for special, pre-premiere and morning shows. There are also discounts for disabled people. Detailed information can be found in the Pricelist.

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ACT I

A hall in the Windsor Palace. The courtiers comment on the love of the king and Giovanna Seymour. Giovanna herself has a guilty conscience, for the queen is unaware that Giovanna had become her rival. Anna is tormented by bad feelings, but she suspects nothing. To chase the sadness away, she asks Smeton the page for a song whose words remind Anna of her old love (the aria “Come innocente giovane”). She renounced her love for the King and she naively warns Giovanna that she should never succumb to the allure of power. Giovanna knows she behaves like a traitor. The King tries to comfort her, assuring her of his love, but Giovanna wants to have his assurances confirmed by a wedding. Enrico is initially outraged at her demand, but he finally promises to get rid of his wife, even if that means slandering her.
The park around Windsor Castle. Rochefort greets Percy, who returns from exile at the King’s summon. Riccardo Percy does not hide the fact that he still loves Anna (“Da quel di che, lei perduta”). Rochefort advises him to be cautious, especially since the royal retinue is coming. Enrico welcomes Percy warmly, while Anna tries to hide her feelings. The King orders Hervey to follow the queen’s former paramour, as he wants to obtain proof of her infidelity.

Outside the Queen’s apartments in Windsor. Smeton, the Queen’s page, has decided to return the medallion that he had secretly stolen from the Queen. He kisses her image one last time, as if saying his goodbyes to a lover, and then he hides at the sound of footsteps coming. It is Rochefort, coming to ask his sister to see Percy; Anna refuses at first, but succumbs eventually. She does remind Percy, however, that she is now a wife and the Queen. He begs her for reciprocity, and when Anna continues to resist, he takes out his weapon and attempts to kill himself. Smeton comes out of hiding to defend the Queen and this is the embarrassing situation in which the King finds his wife. The page assures him that he is innocent, but Enrico finds the medallion on him, and deems it to be proof of betrayal. He will not be the one to judge Anna’s guilt – it is up to the court. Giovanna, Rochefort, Percy, and Smeton feel that her death is a foregone conclusion; Anna also feels she cannot escape doom.

ACT II

The Queen’s chambers at the Tower. Anna’s ladies-in-waiting try to cheer her up, but Harvey orders them to attend an interrogation. Giovanna begs Anna to plead guilty and thus save her life, while allowing the King to instate the woman he loves on the throne. Anna asks about the name of her rival, and Giovanna eventually admits it is her. The Queen tells her to leave, but she does forgive her.

Outside the royal council hall. Hervey announces to courtiers that Smeton pleaded guilty. He knows that this has sealed Anna’s fate. Anna begs the King to let her avoid the court, and Percy defends her, accusing the King of taking away his beloved, the woman who was betrothed to him. Anna prefers death to disgrace, and so admits that she loved Percy, who, in turn, reveals that they were married. Enrico, though shaken by this fact, knows that this means there are no more obstacles to his marrying Giovanna and making her queen. She begs him to spare Anna’s life, but the King refuses to listen. The council announces the verdict: Anna and her supporters are to be put to death.

A prison cell at the Tower. Hervey announces to Percy and Rochefort that the King has pardoned them, but when they both learn that Anna is to be executed, they choose to die with her. The ladies-in-waiting came to say goodbye to the Queen. Anna, driven mad, remembers old times and her youthful love (the aria “Al dolce guidami”), says goodbye to her brother, Percy, and Smeton. The page knows that it was his admission that caused his beloved Queen to be sentenced to death. The sound of bells announces the marriage of Giovanna to the King. Anna forgives everyone and is ready for death (“Coppia iniqua”).

Jacek Marczyński, Przewodnik operowy, Świat Książki, 2011

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