Donizetti, Gaetano 


Donizetti, Gaetano 

Anna Bolena, opera in 2 acts (full opera score in 2 volumes with Italian libretto)

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Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti – Anna Bolen, tragedia lirica in two acts, 1830

(29 November 1797, Bergamo [Italy, at that time newly under the rule of Napoleonic France] – 8 April 1848, Bergamo [Italy, under Austrian rule])

Composed: November-December 1830
Librettist: Felice Romani (1788-1865)
Premiere: Teatro Carcano, Milan, 26 December 1830
Publications: Milan: G. Ricordi ,1831 & reissued in 1910. Full score, plate 129610.
Piano reduction by Luigi Truzzi, plates 1531-1542. Offstage Banda score (Act II finale), plate 129612, for 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba. French piano-vocal score
translated by Castil-Blaze, Paris: Aulangnier, 1838.

Anna Bolena was commissioned by a group of aristocrats who were fed up with the way La Scala was being run. The work was planned to open the Carnival season on December 26, 1830 (a great honor), featuring two leading singers: tenor Giovanni Batista Rubini and soprano Guiditta Pasta, as whose houseguest Donizetti composed the score. The librettist missed his September deadline, finishing the complete text on November 10. A contemporary of Rossini (who retired early) and Bellini (who died tragically young), he wrote quickly, remarking, “Rossini wrote The Barber of Seville in thirteen days? Ah! He always was a lazy fellow!”

The opera went on to be performed in more than two dozen European houses, London (1831), New Orleans (in French, 1839), and New York City (in Italian, 1850). Influential recordings include Maria Callas (La Scala, 1957), Beverly Sills (London Symphony Orchestra, 1972), and Joan Sutherland (Welsh National Opera, 1987). After the successful premieres of Anna Bolena and the comedy L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti’s teacher Johann Simon Mayr began to address his former pupil as “Maestro.” Bel canto singing was evolving during the 1830s, and singers were transforming from experts in the light, flexible style required by Mozart, Bellini, and Rossini to heavier, more heroic voices. Donizetti’s mature music is gorgeous and variegated, seamlessly changing tone from light to dark, and departing from earlier models.

The Composer
Domenico Gaetano Donizetti was born into a large, poor family in Bergamo (occupied by France and Austrian during Donizetti’s entire life). His uncle Corini was responsible for the family’s musical education, and his oldest brother Giuseppe (1788-1856) became a

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Score Data

Score Number



Opera Explorer






210 x 297 mm



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