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Donizetti: Anna Bolena

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With her sensational role debut at the Vienna State Opera, superstar diva Anna Netrebko takes "one giant leap forward to claiming the title of diva assoluta del mondo" (Opera News) with a performance of rare vocal and dramatic power. The Russian soprano sings the role of the unjustly accused second wife of King Henry VIII, "veering between indignant fury and tender righteousness" and demonstrating a new level of confidence in her technique with excellent "passagework, particularly in trills, and seamless runs even to the lowest notes" (Opera News). This production was recorded live at the Vienna State Opera in April, 2011.

The performance also stars Deutsche Grammophon recording artist mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, in "a fantastic display of bel canto" (Opera News) as Anna's rival, Giovanna Seymour (Jane Seymour). Ildebrando D'Arcangelo brings his beautifully dark tone to the role of Enrico (Henry VIII) and young Italian tenor Francesco Meli sings the demanding role of Lord Percy with a "youthful virility" (Agence France Press), promising great things for the future. On the podium Evelino Pidò "drew playing of unusual precision and refinement...making every note matter" (Financial Times).


"An event with a capital 'E"' -- Financial Times

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Anna Netrebko, Elina Garanca, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Francesco Meli, Elisabeth Kulman
  • Directors: Eric Genovese, Brian Large
  • Writers: Gaetano Donizetti, Felice Romani
  • Producers: Wiener Staatsoper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (DTS 5.0), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: November 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 194 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005MYEQ9U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Bocaboy on November 4, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
All three female principals in this opera are fantastic. Netrebko, Garanca and Kulman own the screen. They deliver a performance that will have you glued to your seat. I agree with some of the reviews I've read on Amazon regarding Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Francesco Meli not being as strong as the part may demand, and I must say I preferred Ildar Abdrazakov as Henry VIII in the Metropolitan Opera's production this year. Ironically, he sang against Netrebko at the Met and was wonderful. It's really a small quibble. D'Arcangelo and Meli deliver world-class performances and they are wonderful voices against Netrebko and Garanca.

In addition, the Vienna Opera Orchestra will leave you breathless with this performance. The music took on a dimension I haven't heard with other productions of Anna Bolena, so it was like hearing it anew. Evelino Pidò conducted this performance, and I was enthralled at his interpretation. Make sure to play it LOUD!

For my money, if you're an opera lover, this is a not-to-be-missed performance. At $29, you're crazy not to buy it!
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John W. Rippon VINE VOICE on November 10, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well I'll give it five stars! This is a masterful, vivid presentation of a truly great opera; one of the very best of it's genre. Yes, this is Donizetti's first great international success. He would write many more great and not so great works numbering in the 70s but he would not exceed this tight,well crafted, non-stop drama to its forgone ending; a true work of genius. My introduction to this work dates to the late fifties when on radio I heard rebroadcasts of RIAA broadcasts of Callas in the role (with Simionato) from La Scala. I really got to know the work at NYC Opera with Sills and the subsequent recordings of the Donizetti Tudor Queens. If Callas was a tigress (and she was), Sills was affronted majesty, Gruberovna betrayed innocence but with Netrebko we have all three stages of development to the great climax at the end. You can quibble as some reviwers have about her voice type but in the end it's the art that Netrebko puts into the role that counts and this performance on the whole is simply great. I agree that the most satisfying scene is the Bolena/Seymour duet. The ice blond Garanca and the ravenhair Netrebko in a duo made in heaven. The male members do a good job in their roles. Meli's A! cosi neidi ridenti (an exquisite gem of a melody) was lackluster but he became more lyrical later in the opera. D'Arcangelo, not the handsomest face on the roster made a fervent creditable king. The costumes were excellent especially the two ladies gowns that complemented them so beautifully. Evelino Pido kept a tight reign on the entire undertaking and brought forth a truly magnificent performance.
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64 of 80 people found the following review helpful By John G. Gleeson Sr. on September 24, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This opera arrived today and it went into the player as soon as the box was opened. If you are at all "into" bel canto, you must have and experience this performance. From a music standard, from a dramatic standard and from a technical standard, it is a hands down winner! In addition to having experienced this performance, I was able to attend my first ever Met HD simulcast of Anna Bolena on 10/15, featuring Anna Netrebko and an entirely different cast. If that performance gets onto DVD, I will have two splendid renditions of this opera.

But let's address this Anna first, because if you are reading this, it is this disc about which you are curious. First, the disc is qualitatively perfect. the picture is crisp, the colors are vivid and the sound in DTS is still a marvel to me. There is a real sense of "being there"; if you have a good surround system, just disable the surround and then re-engage it. There is a sonic collapse to the front speakers which reverses to a sense of the "house" when the surround is clicked back on.

The conducting of this opera is splendid throughout. I have become real fan of Maestro Pido of late, especially in bel canto operas. You can see from the very opening of the overture how engaged he is in the score, and his work with the singers is impressive. Along with Marco Armiliato ( who conducted the Met performance ) and Antonio Popano, I think we have a cadre of talented and experienced bel canto interpreters on hand for the near future.

So, how do the singers do? With one exception, the performers sing and act at a very high level of excellence.

Netrebko's Anna is a vocal and dramatic tour de force. She is an exceptional performer.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mauricio Silva on December 10, 2011
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Aristotle wrote that Tragedy is about a great mind living a reversal of fortune, because an inner drive (not external events) drives him/her towards self-knowledge and death: the performance must offer aesthetic pleasure. Anna Bolena fits the definition as few other operas can ever hope to (except of course when they are transcriptions of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Racine, and a very few others). No weepy drama, no red eyes when Bolena is judicially murdered. Felice Romano is a great poet! I am not a native speaker of Italian, but I do have the privilege of speaking a Latin Language. If you can, learn Italian, the payoff is huge. The plot is reasonably faithful to history, but that is irrelevant: it unveils a totally different, totally convincing vista: the hypothetical face-to-face conflict between Boleyn on her way to the scaffold and Seymour on hers to the throne. In real life it probably never happened; actually the real Jane Seymour was a simple lowly educated country girl. Giovanna Seumour is a Felice Romano character. But if you enjoy a truly mega-conflict of noble minds seek no further! Then there is the music. At his best, Donizetti is one to beat and here he is at his absolute peak best. The Wiener Statsoper, under Maestro Pidò has been lavishly praised by others and I remember no other performance as good as this one. This is a brave new world of sound, the rendering of a complex elegant score, at one time dark and brilliant. Anna Netrebko remarked during a recent interview that Boleyn must have been quite a lady to make a king change the religion of an entire country "simply" to be able to marry her. So, said Netrebko, Bolena must die gloriously as the great Queen she was.Read more ›
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