Sondra Radvanovsky owns Anna Bolena at the COC

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), composer -

Gaetano Donizetti, composer – (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I attended the last performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Canadian Opera Company on May 26th, 2018.  The opera stars Sondra Radvanovsky, who owns the title role of Anna Bolena.

The performance stars Ms. Radvanovsky, and also features Christian Van Horn as Enrico (King Henry VIII), Allyson McHardy as Smeton, Keri Alkema as Giovanna Seymour (Jane Seymour), and Bruce Sledge as Richard Percy.  The performance was directed by Stephen Lawless, and was conducted by Corrado Rovaris.

The production is set in the Globe Theatre with two balconies around the back of the stage where the chorus performed.  The semi-circular wall was moveable, so it allowed for the stage to be changed from time to time to represent different rooms.  I personally found the staging, while simple overall, was effective and was not a distraction in the least.

The opera centres around the title character and the King’s desire to rid himself of his second wife.

The one reason to see was Sondra Radvanovsky.  She absolutely owned the role during the performance from start to finish.  The performance was moving and left me in awe.  Words really do not do justice to her performance.  It will remain a highlight of my time attending theatre – it was that wonderful.

Ms. Alkema’s Jane Seymour was excellent and moving.  You could understand that her character’s anguish – both being in love with the King, and not wanting to betray her friend Anna Bolena.  Her duet with Ms. Radvanovsky was in Act 2 was also a memorable highlight.

Mr. Horn’s King Henry was youthful and fully out for himself – even telling Seymour not to worry about how he was going to divorce Bolena, and refusing to listen to her pleas of innocence.

If you get a chance to hear Ms. Radvanovsky as Anna Bolena at all in the coming years, run to the performance!  Do not walk!  You need to see and hear her in this role.  The production, and the rest of the cast do not matter – you will not be disappointed by her portrayal of Anna Bolena.

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