Tired of the same old Carmen or Madam Butterfly doing the rounds? Here’s an opera first heading to the city later in the year. Donizetti’s three Tudor operas will be performed together for the first time in the UK by Welsh National Opera this autumn.
New productions of Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux will be presented by two young directors Alessandro Talevi and Rudolf Frey, and will play the Liverpool Empire from October 22 to 26.
They say: “The Tudors is a landmark event. It is the first time Donizetti’s ‘Three Queens’ operas will have been performed together in Britain. The Tudors combines all of the drama and intrigue of the best historical novels with some of the most sublime music in opera. Plotting courtiers with hidden agendas. Future queens waiting in the wings. Kings for whom no is not an answer. Love shattered by the onwards march of history. It’s hard to imagine a better subject for the drama and spectacle of opera than The Tudors.”
Donizetti wrote the operas in the 1820s and 1830s, and they helped kickstart his reputation as one of Italy’s great operatic luminaries. The productions explore Donizetti’s re-imagining of the Tudor stories looking at the personalities of some of history’s most infamous characters, including Anne Boleyn’s final days in the scheming court of Henry VIII; the showdown should Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots have actually met; and Elizabeth’s heart ruling her head as her grip on her throne begins to loosen. Designer Madeleine Boyd will bring WNO’s Tudors to life on one dramatic single set with costumes that will apparently evoke the period with a modern twist.
The photo of Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Margaery off of Game of Thrones is a hopefully forgivable bit of poetic license on my part in keeping with The Tudors theme, as despite their talents on the silver screen, obviously they’re not going to start honking their way around classic Italian opera as well.
The Tudor operas can be seen in succession or stand alone; there are discounts for booking for all three. They are also book-ended by an acclaimed production of Tosca on October 22 and 26. Tickets start from £5 and go up to just £25; see the Empire or WNO sites for more details.