Virginia Zeani sings part of the closing scene from Anna Bolena in a live concert performance in the studios of Italian Radio, RAI in Torino, Italy, with Orchestra Sinfonica de RAI, Direttore Fulvio Vernizzi, 10 November 1958.
Anna Bolena, is the English Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth Ist. On a most likely trumped up charge, she was accused by her husband of adultery and was executed in the Tower of London in 1536 at the age of 29.
The opera enjoyed a triumphant revival at La Scala Milan in 1957 with Maria Meneghini Callas in one of her greatest roles as Anna.
The tyrannical Enrico - Henry VIII - was portrayed to great effect by Zeani's husband, Nicola Rossi Lemeni. This doubtless led to Zeani undertaking this excerpt from the final scena in their joint Turin concert for RAI the following year, although she never performed the whole role on stage.
In the opera, Donizetti composed the scena as a highly dramatic mad scene. It is very different in style from the coloratura extravagances of Lucia. Anna's music moves between declamatory outbursts and gentle lyricism as her mind wanders from terror to joy. She imagines it again to be her wedding day and sadly pleads for just one more day of love.
Watch videos with other singers performing Piangete voi?:
SCENA DODICESIMA Anna dalla sua prigione. Si presenta in abito negletto, e col capo scoperto; si avanza lentamente, assorta in profondi pensieri. Silenzio universale. Le Damigelle la circondano vivamente commosse. Ella le osserva attentamente; sembra rasserenarsi.
Scena ed Aria Finale
ANNA Piangete voi? donde tal pianto? … È questo Giorno di nozze. Il Re mi aspetta … è acceso, Infiorato l'altar. - Datemi tosto Il mio candido ammanto; il crin m'ornate Del mio serto di rose … Che Percy non lo sappia - il Re l'impose.
CORO Oh! memoria funesta!
ANNA Oh! chi si duole? Chi parlò di Percy? … Ch'io non lo vegga; Ch'io m'asconda a' suoi sguardi. - È vano - Ei viene … Ei m'accusa … ei mi sgrida. Oh! mi perdona … Infelice son io. Toglimi a questa Miseria estrema … Tu sorridi? … oh gioia! … Non fia, non fia che qui deserta io moia! Al dolce guidami Castel natìo, Ai verdi platani, Al queto rio Che i nostri mormora Sospiri ancor. Colà, dimentico De' corsi affanni. Un giorno rendimi De' miei prim' anni. Un giorno solo Del nostro amor.
CORO Chi può vederla a ciglio asciutto, In tanto affanno, in tanto lutto, E non sentirsi spezzare il cor?
English Libretto or Translation:
Scene 6 Anna comes from her prison. She appears in disordered dress, her head uncovered and moves forward slowly, sunk in deep thought. A universal silence. Servants surround her, strongly moved. She observes them attentively and seems to calm herself.
ANNA: Are you weeping? whence such tears? This is a wedding day. The King awaits me…the altar is lit up and bedecked with flowers. Quickly, give me my white cloak; decorate my hair with my crown of roses… Don't let Percy know of it… The King demands it.
CHORUS: Oh! What sad memories!
ANNA: Oh! Who is mourning?
CHORUS: Oh! What sad memories!
ANNA: Oh! who is mourning? Who spoke of Percy?…Don't let me see him. Let me hide from his gaze. It is no use. He is coming… He accuses me…he decries me. Oh! forgive me… I am unhappy. Take me from this extreme misery. Are you smiling? Oh joy! Don't let me die, don't let me die alone. Guide me to the sweet mansion of my birth, to the green plane-trees to the quiet river, that still murmers with our sighs. There, I forget the streams of anguish, give me back one day of my early years, just one day of our love.
CHORUS: Who can see her dry eyed in such anguish, in such mourning and not feel their heart break?