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Diana Damrau © Jiyang Chen

Donizetti Anna Bolena

From 12 February TO 19 February 2022
Wiener Staatsoper - Wien

Donizetti : Anna Bolena

  • Conductor
    Giacomo Sagripanti
  • Director
    Eric Génovèse
  • Performers
    Anna Bolena: Diana Damrau
    Giovanna Seymour: Ekaterina Semenchuk
    Richard Percy: Pene Pati
    Enrico VIII: Erwin Schrott
    Smeton: Virginie Verrez
  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Wiener Staatsoper - Wien Location Opernring 2 - 1010 Wien Autriche

  • Venue's Capacity: 1709

The Vienna State Opéra is much more than just a local institution; it is a vital part of the city's identity and a national landmark.

As of the 17th century, the Hapsburgs lavishly patronized the opéra. Family members Ferdinand III and Leopold I composed for the théâtre, while Charles VI tried his hand at conducting the orchestra, and the Empress Maria-Theresa often mingled with the corps de ballet.

During the 19th century, the Karntnerthor-Theater was demolished and the présent building was constructed on the famous " Ring ". It was here that Mahler, with the help of the set designer Alfred RoUer, imposed a new style of performance, based on audacious stagings and a very précise interprétation ofthe score, which demanded countless rehearsals.

After the fall of the Hapsburgs, Richard Strauss took over the reins of the newly baptized Vienna State Opéra. Curiously enough, only one of Strauss'operas, THE WOMAH WITHOUT A SHADOW, was premiered in Vienna. Clemens Krauss and Karl Bôhm were to follow in his footsteps. Under Bôhm's direction, the Opera created its own Company, which was to serve as a model for several générations. Even the bombs that destroyed the opéra house in 1945 could not prevent singer s such as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, Sena Jurinac or Erich Kunz from becoming legendary.

One musn't think that the Viennese applaud only their homegrown stars. In 1955, when Maria Callas came to sing LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR in the reconstructed building with Karajan conducting, the public blocked traffic to pay tribute to the diva... in the street! Karajan succeeàed Karl Bôhm, and invited many international stars to corne sing on the Viennese stage. Works were henceforth sung in their language of origin, and coproductions with La Scala permitted the disco-very of voices such as that of Mirella Freni in LA BOHEME.

Ioan Holender has suceeded in deftly combining these international distributions with an ensemble System. He has scheduled many works never heard on the Viennese stage, which are now included in the Opera's répertoire, such as Verdi's JERUSALEM and Enesco's OEDIPE, furthering a policy instated under Claudio Abbado's brilliant direction. Whatever changes may now occur, the Opera will continue to stage at least 300 performances per season (an absolute world record ren-dered feasible thanks to the în-house technical crew, which hires no less than 250 people), and the public will continue to applaud the finest orchestra any amateur could wish for in the pit : the Vienna Philharmonie !

Wiener Staatsoper

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.


Anna Bolena


Anna Bolena is an operatic tragedy written by Gaetano Donizetti, that charts the life of Henry VIII second wife Anne Boleyn. Premiering in the December of 1830, the piece is one of Donizetti's most popular works and articulates the composers fascination with the Tudor period of English history.

The Opera is still enormously popular to this day, with revivals of the work consistently performed across the UK and Europe.


Beginning in 1536 and set in Windsor and London the Opera treads somewhat familiar ground, charting the short lived marriage of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII.

Act 1

The King's courtiers begin to suspect that their ruler has grown tired of his second wife Anne Boleyn and is eager to replace her with Jane Seymour. The King explicitly makes this point to Seymour promising that the thrown will soon be hers.

Anna's Brother, Lord Rochefort meets with his sisters first lover, Lord Percy. They discuss Anna's situation and comment on loves fickle nature. Percy and Rochefort meet with Anna and the King. Henry is suspicious of Percy's intentions regarding Anna and orders one of his officers, Hervey to spy on his every move.

Noting Anna's unhappiness Percy once more declares his love for her, asking to see her again. Anna refuses saying that neither she nor Percy can ever speak of their love. Percy unsheathes his sword to stab himself, causing Anna to scream in anguish. This alerts the queens page, Smeaton, who observes the scene from his hiding place behind a screen. Smeaton rushes out fearing Percy is about to attack Anna. The two men are about to fight when Anna feints. The King enters and seeing the unsheathes swords declares both Percy and Smeaton traitors. He orders both of them be taken to the dungeon.

Act 2

Anna and her ladies enter, Hervey, the Kings spy, announces the council of peers have requested an audience with Anna's ladies. Anna Bolena is momentarily alone before Jane Seymour enters and tells Anna to avoid execution by admitting her guilt. Anna refuses and condemns her successor, before asking Jane to leave and revealing her belief that Henry alone is to blame for the situation.

Smeaton reveals he has slept with Anna condemning the pair of them to death. In an audience with the King, Anna and Lord Percy are told they will both be executed, Percy explains that he and Anna will be married in heaven.
Jane Seymour and the Kings council plead for Anna's life compelling the King to be merciful. The King ignores them before demanding they leave. Percy, Rochefort and Smeaton are brought in to Anna's cell, all are consumed with grief. From outside the cell Anna hears a canon, guards enter to lead the four away, Anna faints.


Anna Bolena, Soprano
Henry VIII, Bass
Giovanna Seymour, Mezzo Soprano
Lord Rochefort, Bass
Lord Percy, Tenor
Smeaton, Contralto
Hervey, Tenor

Wiener Staatsoper

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