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Lyric’s Anna Bolena

Sandra Radvanovsky will star as Anne Boleyn

Sandra Radvanovsky will star as Anne Boleyn

Anna Bolena LIVE, Saturday at 7:15 pm


“Divorced, Beheaded, Died,
Divorced, Beheaded, Survived”

It was the fate of six women, one after another, to produce heirs for Henry VIII. On the chopping block were not only women’s heads, but a royal dynasty, the sanctity of the Church, and the unity of a people. With such enormous forces at work, history often overlooks the intimate spaces from which they explode, but for this tale by Gaetano Donizetti. His 1830 opera Anna Bolena portrays Henry’s travails from the perspective of one wife who loves another.

The historical Henry VIII had fought long and hard to be with Anne, his Queen’s lady-in-waiting. He begged his wife, Catherine of Aragon, for his freedom; he petitioned the pope for an annulment. When neither would budge, Henry married her anyway.

Donizetti picks up the story as Henry begins to stray – except this time, divorce isn’t enough. Anna Bolena is an opera about betrayal, anguish, and courage; a private story based on one of history’s most public break-ups.

According to bass John Relyea, singing the role of the villain is anything but dull:

 

Last summer, John Relyea sang the role of Figaro in James Conlon’s “The Marriage of Figaro” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Relyea is back in Chicago to sing the part of a less sympathetic creature: Henry VIII.


With an international opera career and an exotic name like, Sondra Radvanovsky, it might surprise people to learn that the star of Lyric’s Anna Bolena is a Chicago native; she’s from Berwyn, to be exact. Ms. Radvanovsky has made more than 160 appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, and will be adding all “three queens” to her credits there – that is the three Tudor queens staged in opera by Donizetti.

Given that Anne Boleyn was a living, breathing person, Ms. Radvanovsky says she felt compelled to find out as much as she could about the historical figure:


Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Anna Bolena runs through January 16. WFMT’s live broadcast of Lyric’s opening night performance begins on Saturday, December 6 at 7:15 pm.
More on Lyric’s Anna Bolena.

  • Mike

    The above article states that “Ms. Radvanovsky has made more than 160 appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, including singing all “three queens; that is the three Tudor queens portrayed in opera by Donizetti.” Actually, while she has sung all three operas (Roberto Devereaux, Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena), she has never sung any of them at the Met.

    • zach

      Radvanovsky Is SCHEDUELED to sing all 3 Tudor Queens at the Met.