Monday, September 01, 2014

Maryland television treats us to Met performance of Doizetti's "Anna Bolena"

On Labor Day evening, Maryland Public Television in Annapolis presented Gaetano Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” (“Anne Boleyn”), composed in 1830, the performance by the Metropolitan Opera in New York on Sept. 27, 2011, with Anna sung by Anna Nebtreko.  While the Annapolis PBS station presented it, the main station in Washington WETA, did not, preferring its silly antique shows. 
The music sounds light and fluffy, and ornate, given the tragic nature of the subject matter, concerning the life and death (and delusions) of the second wife of Henry VIII. 
The opera opens with an expansive but somewhat superficial and lively overture in D Major.   The music tends to have a lot of the repetitious bel canto passages of the period.   Donizetti quoted the American hymn “Home Sweet Home” in the final scene showing Anna’s wishful deception.  The entire opera actually ends “happily” on a loud E-flat major chord. 

I don’t recall having a copy of the overture in my old vinyl record collection as a teen.  I think it would have stuck in my mind in the college years pretty well.   

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