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Donizetti - Anna Bolena / Bonynge, Sutherland, Morris, Canadian Opera Company (1984)

Joan Sutherland , James Morris  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Sutherland, James Morris, Judith Forst, Michael Myers, Janet Stubbs
  • Writers: Felice Romani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AAEX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,104 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Donizetti - Anna Bolena / Bonynge, Sutherland, Morris, Canadian Opera Company" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

It would have been better, of course, if this 1984 production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena, or at least its title role, had been filmed 20 years earlier, when Joan Sutherland's voice was in its spectacular prime. But like her Canadian Opera Norma, dating from 1981, this is a better-late-than-never documentation of one of the most remarkable voices of the 20th century.

Lotfi Mansouri spared no effort or expense in making this production special. He personally directed the staging, and handpicked an outstanding cast (right down to the very young and then-unknown Ben Heppner in the small role of Hervey). The visual elements--sets, costumes, and camera work--are also handled with great care, and Sutherland's positive response to this dedication can be sensed in her performance as the unfortunate wife of King Henry VIII. James Morris is best-known as a Wagnerian singer--perhaps the leading Wotan of our time--but he is equally at home in many of the villainous roles that are the fate of bass- baritones (Iago, Scarpia, Don Giovanni). In this sinister tale of an innocent woman ruthlessly destroyed, he shows a surprising knack for the bel canto style. Judith Forst is also excellent in the role of Jane Seymour. --Joe McLellan

Product Description

157 minute DVD starring Joan Sutherland in one of her greatest triumphs, portraying Anne Boleyn, opposite the formidable Henry VIII of bass james Morris in this 1984 production by the Canadian Opera Company.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sutherland/Morris/Forst Triumph in Bel Canto Classic April 27, 2001
On May 22, 1984 Joan Sutherland gave her very first performance as Donizetti's Anna Bolena in Toronto. Two performances later, on May 28, the performance was televised with the premiere cast and quite a premiere cast it was: James Morris as Henry VIII, Judith Forst as Jane Seymour, Michael Myers as Percy and in the small role of Hervey, the as yet unknown Ben Heppner. Pirate videos have been floating around for years of this performance but what a treat it is to see this mint copy looking as if it were being telecast today! Sumptuous costumes and appropriately stern sets along with excellent camera work help the singers to bring their characters vividly to life. Even though Sutherland was definitely in her later years, there is plenty of voice left to cope with the many vocal as well as dramatic challenges of this role. It is also a great opportunity to see James Morris as Henry -- a role he rarely performed and never recorded. The role offers no vocal difficulties that Morris cannot master and he is visually the antithesis of the overweight letcher we expect Henry VIII to be. Richard Bonynge conducts with sensitivity and style, bringing a "rightness" to this performance which many modern day bel canto performances rarely deliver. As with VAI's Norma -- subtitles are permanent and not optional but this is a small drawback which can be easily overlooked and indeed a plus for those who are hearing this opera for the first time. This DVD comes highly recommended not only as an aural but a visual treat as well. Many thanks to VAI for releasing its recent DVD's (Great Opera Stars on the Bell Telephone Hour and NORMA) -- keep them coming!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUTHERLAND IS STILL SUTHERLAND February 16, 2005
In a perfect world, there would have been a video "Anna Bolena" with Maria Callas, but with that out of the question, I find this Sutherland version quite good. True --- her voice is not what it would have been ten years earlier ------ but it's still an impressive instrument quite capable of commanding the role. Secondly, she sounds considerably better here than she does on the London studio recording of 1987 (recorded three years after this performance). The supporting cast here is excellent, the orchestra plays well for Bonynge, and the picture is pretty good. I'm a great Callas admirer, but I truly find Sutherland's contribution to the art of bel canto to be as basic and fundamental as was Callas'. This is an excellent "Anna Bolena" , and if there are those who have a problem with Sutherland's downward transposition of the final scene by a whole step, they should simply give this performance a pass. Personally, I'm glad that Sutherland took this role into her repertoire, even at this late stage of her career. Is there any soprano out there today who could duplicate her accomplishment? If so, where are they??
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This Anna Bolena recording does not have the best audio or visual quality that we really desire.However, it is an extremely important document and shows why Dame Joan was still "La Stupenda" at age close to 60 !It is ashame that the Met refused to mount this opera for Sutherland during her raving success around the world-a great lost for New Yorker!This is a must for any opera lover---------including fans of Dame Joan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Anna Bolena April 17, 2001
This Anna Bolena originates from Toronto, Canada, 1985, and it has a spectacular Joan Sutherland for the title role, along with James Morris as Enrico, and Judith Forst as Giovanna. Bonynge conducts with wonderful Donizetti style(Italiainate), and the rest of the principles are excellent. Buy it and enjoy. A few cuts, but check out B Sills' recording for the complete(near?) of this fabulouis opera!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sutherland still absolutely breathtaking, BUT... March 28, 2005
By Stephen
After obtaining a copy of Sutherland's DVD performance of Lucrezia Borgia (I gorgeous rendition-a must!) I just had to get this Anna Bolena. Of course there's a four year difference between performances, and I heard so many rumours and opinions regarding the decline in voice, and yes, inevitably you can notice the difference. But as far as I'm concerned she can still surprise today's singers who are in their prime. Her coloratura, runs, trills, everything...are still clean, tasteful, absolutely beautiful! Whats more, her Jane Seymour, Judith Frost, is fantastic, first in her scena duet with Henry, then with Anna Bolena herself in Act 3 scene 1. The costumes, sets great!

Now the disappointments-a simply miscast Henry-James Morris. He sounds as if he were choking in some of the emballishments. Yes, he can sing Wagner, I've heard him, but certainly NOT bel canto! Others in the cast are more than adequate. Also the sound is pathetic!!! I can understand if its mono sound but sometimes the voices are too far back, the orchestra sounds muchy in places. I disappointment after the top quality of Lucrezia Borgia.

Still, a DVD I would not want to be without!!!

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sutherland is indeed still "Stupenda" July 30, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Though I was scepticle, I must agree with previous reviewers that after seeing/hearing this DVD of a favorite opera, "Anna Bolena", Ms Sutherland was still "La Stupenda". Yes there were transpositions and yes there were cuts but she has given us a great performance to enjoy and cherish. She was a big horsey woman who was never a beauty but that face can convey pathos, charm, innocent happiness and deep dispair. And the voice was still right on pitch, accurate on inflexion and nuance. WOW she was still in top form. We are truly fortunate to have this document to remember one of the truly great singers of this or any age. The production is lush and regal; quite worthy of Henry Tudor's court. And the Henry of James Morris is also worthy of that court. His is a headstrong, impetuious and very virile performance of a role that too often is unnoticed. His great Woton years were just begining and his voice and being truly became the part of Henry.
The opera itself is such a great achievement one cannot understand that after it ill-fated first performances in the 1830s (New Orleans 1839 the last) it was not done again until 1957 with Callas. In my opera books of the 1950s it's not even mentioned. Fortunately I was able to see Sills in a couple performances and she truly invaded the part. Both Sills and Sutherland were skilled interpreters of this gloriuous role and I hope to see many more performances of this beautiful opera.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Music yes - visuals no
Sutherland is pure magic when it comes to vocalisation. But acting was never her forte and she does more posturing than acting. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lee Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars SUTHERLAND FOREVER!
There are three definitive Annas: Callas, Sutherland, Sills, Of the three, only Sutherland was filmed in the role. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alfredo R. Villanueva
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% traditional, 100% enjoyable, true opera experience
EXCELLENT Sutherland! Rather than being 'slightly' past her vocal prime, as so many reviewers relish pointing out ... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Brent Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars ANNA BOLENA, RAINHA TUDOR
Gaetano Donizetti was a composer at full speed. Operas flowed one after the other, contained in your resume more than 70. Read more
Published on June 7, 2010 by Ali Hassan AYACHE
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, eloquent but doesn't fire the blood
Dame Joan Sutherland first essayed the role of Anna Bolena in Canada 1984, of which this release captures. Read more
Published on March 10, 2007 by Niel Rishoi
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland and boring
I've only watched/listened to the 1st 2 acts and the 1st scene of the 3rd (because I can't use my DVD player right now), and after listening (dozens of times) to the glorious 1984... Read more
Published on May 23, 2005 by Joseph Hart
3.0 out of 5 stars Too old - Too late
I bought this in the hope of a good video of my favourite Donizetti-opera. And Sutherland was famous for ANYTHING belcanto... But here she's too old and it was too late. Read more
Published on January 12, 2004 by Emma de Soleil
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Performance - Now that's opera
Opera is the most satisfying of all the arts. It brings the best of all worlds together- acting, drama, singing, orchestral music and even dance in the case of some operas, Gaetano... Read more
Published on July 30, 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong cast and authentic staging
I think this a very authentic production of the opera, from staging to customes. A delight for opera purists.
For the casting, Joan is still amazing at her age. Read more
Published on October 10, 2002 by Ben Lin
3.0 out of 5 stars Costumes are Wonderful!
This is a very lonnnngggg opera and Joan should have passed on Anna as she didn't have the stamina nor the voice to pull it off. Read more
Published on August 15, 2001 by operamaryc
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Wrong set of reviews!
Amazing. How did that get so messed up?
Sep 13, 2010 by JMB1014 |  See all 2 posts
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