The opera, a compelling dramatization of the tragic final days of Anne Boleyn—whose husband Henry VIII spurns her and has her sentenced to death—is directed by David McVicar and conducted by Marco Armiliato. The cast includes Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova as Anna’s romantic rival, Giovanna (Jane Seymour); Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov as the cruel Enrico (Henry VIII); American tenor Stephen Costello as Anna’s first love, Lord Percy; and American mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford as the queen’s devoted page Smeton.
Generally considered one of Donizetti’s finest operas, Anna Bolena is the first in a trilogy of works based on the lives of Tudor-era queens that David McVicar will direct at the Met over the next few seasons (the other two are Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux). McVicar, whose production of Il Trovatore aired on Great Performances at the Met in August, has created a historically detailed setting for the opera, which re-emerged as a musical and dramatic showpiece for extraordinary sopranos when Maria Callas starred in a famous 1957 La Scala revival of the work.
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