STELLA GRIGORIAN sings Giovanna Seymour's Scene and Aria 'Per questa fiamma indomita... Ah, pensate che rivolti', Act Two of the opera Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti (live).
James Allen Gähres, conductor
Stella Grigorian, mezzo-soprano
Ulm Philharmonic (Philharmoniker Ulm)
Performance live recording.
Live recorded during open public performance.
Donizetti - La Favorita - 'O mio Fernando' R. Kapfhammer - James Allen Gähres, cond., Ulm Philharmonic (live):
Per questa fiamma indomita
alla virtù preposta...
per quegli amari spasimi,
pel pianto che mi costa...
odi la mia preghiera:
Anna per me non pèra
innanzi al cielo e agli uomini
rea non mi far di più!
Ah! pensate che rivolti
terra e cielo han gli occhi in voi!
Che ogni core ha i falli suoi
per dovere altrui mercé.
La pietade Enrico ascolti,
se al rigore è spinto il Re.
Anna Bolena marked a turning point in the career of Gaetano Donizetti. He was already known throughout the operatic world as a successful composer of opera buffa, but his serious operas had not been accepted by the critics or the public. With Anna Bolena, an opera seria in two acts, Donizetti became one of Italy's foremost operatic composers, respected and loved internationally as well as at home.
The opera's libretto is by Felice Romani (1788-1865), after Enrico VIII, ossia Anna Balena by Ippolito Pindemonte (1753-1828), and Anna Bolena by Alessandro Pepoli (1752-1796). Anna Bolena premiered on December 26, 1830 at the Teatro Carcano in Milan.
It is the first of what are known as Donizetti's 'queen' operas, all set during England's Tudor period. It was both the first opera to be written and also the first chronologically in its setting. The subsequent operas show Elizabeth I, Anne's daughter, both as a foil to Mary Queen of Scots (Maria Stuarda), and as an aging, jealous lover (in Roberto Devereux). These operas are as well known for their dramatic as for their musical demands, especially for the soprano. In each, the soprano has a fiery scene that closes the opera, after some extremely demanding music preceding the last act.
The subject for the opera is taken from English history and concerns the fate of one of Henry VIII's many wives. Romani turned Anne Boleyn's life into a powerful drama of innocence and injustice, heroism, and love. The libretto is superior, and the text contains many dramatic and musical opportunities for the composer. Both acts are carefully structured, and each twist in the plot and each detail in the score moves the drama forward. Arias are carefully prepared; love scenes and conflict scenes are juxtaposed with scenes for chorus or for larger groups of players. And brilliant ensembles bring the main portions of the drama to closure.
Gaetano Donizetti (born November 29, 1797 - died April 8, 1848 in Bergamo, Italy) was among the most important composers of bel canto opera in both Italian and French in the first half of the nineteenth Century. Many of Donizetti's more than 60 operas are still part of the modern repertoire and continue to challenge singers for their musical and technical demands. Donizetti stands stylistically between Rossini and Verdi; his scenes are usually more expanded in structure than those of Rossini, but he never blurred the lines between set pieces and recitative as Verdi did in his middle-period and late works. Often compared to his contemporary, Bellini, Donizetti produced a wider variety of operas and showed a greater stylistic flexibility, even if he never quite achieved the sheer beauty of Bellini's greatest works.
Paintings and Photos:
1. Anne Boleyn (c. 1501 - May 19, 1536, executed by beheading), Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII. Late 16th-century copy of a lost original portrait of c.1533-1536 by an unknown painter. National Portrait Gallery, London.
2. Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent. Anne Boleyn spent her early youth there, probably it is also her birthplace.
4. Jane Seymour (c. 1508–October 24, 1537), Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as the third wife of King Henry VIII. Portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1536. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
5. King Henry VIII (June 28, 1491 - January 28, 1547). Portrait after Hans Holbein the Younger. Holbein’s most important project for Henry VIII was the mural he painted at Whitehall Palace in 1537 to demonstrate the Tudor lineage. This showed the King and Jane Seymour, with Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Henry’s confident pose became the most recognised image of the King. The mural was destroyed by fire in 1698, but had been copied by Remigius van Leemput for Charles II. This watercolour is a copy of Leemput’s painting.
7. St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, where Jane Seymour and Henry VIII were interred.