Bolena, Anna

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(Donizetti: Anna Bolena). Sop. Second wife of Enrico (King Henry VIII), she is being discarded in favour of Giovanna (Jane) Seymour. She confesses her unhappiness to Lord Percy, her first love, and he declares his love for her. The King, anxious to find a treasonable offence with which to accuse Anna, finds them together and commits her to the Tower to await trial. Giovanna tries to persuade her to save herself by saying that she is guilty and begging the King's pardon, but she will not do so. As the King and Giovanna's wedding is announced, Anna is led to the scaffold. Aria: Cielo, a’ miei lunghi spasimi (‘Heaven grant an end to my long agonies’)—the tune of this aria is easily recognized as a decorated version of Henry Bishop's Home, sweet home). This long-neglected opera was revived in 1956 at Bergamo, Donizetti's birthplace. That performance was seen by Gianandrea Gavazzeni, conductor at La Scala, Milan, who recognized it as an ideal vehicle for the talent, both vocal and dramatic, of Maria Callas. It was staged for her at La Scala the following year. Created (1830) by Giuditta Pasta.

Subjects: Opera.

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