This autumn Donizetti’s trio of operas telling the dramatic and gory stories of the Tudor family will be performed for the first time in the UK.
New productions of Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux will be presented by two young directors Alessandro Talevi and Rudolf Frey for Welsh National Opera and will tour theatres in Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Llandudno and Southampton.
Some of the most extraordinary and infamous characters in history will be brought to life on stage via song thanks to the innovation of designer Madeleine Boyd, whose dramatic single set and costumes create a show that feels medieval but with a modern twist.
From Anne Boleyn’s final days to the gory fate of Mary, Queen of Scots, audiences will be able to relive this extraordinary history in detail.
“Donizetti’s opera Maria Stuarda intrigues me on many levels as it is a sharp and concise interpretation of one of the most exciting episodes in Tudor history,” says Rudolf Frey of the opera that includes the imagined moment that Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I meet. “The simple presence of the two queens has an enormous explosive power. In this production we will give them their own equal but distinctive habitat on stage – the larger than life queens will almost appear as if they were artefacts in a contemporary exhibition.”
“Obviously the opera concentrates on a love-theme with Count Leicester as the catalyst of this triangle. This raises questions about Elizabeth’s status as the ‘Virgin Queen’ when compared to the affairs and crimes Mary Stuart is being accused of. We get an insight into the most vulnerable point of the two monarchs as they are being driven by their will to rule, survive and retain their female identity in a male-dominated society.”
The WNO has also teamed up with the National Trust to bring special events at National Trust properties all over Britain, where the Tudors would once have lived, such as Little Moreton Hall and Plas Newydd. During these events, historian Anna Whitelock and novelist Suzannah Dunn will explore their fascinating history while excerpts of Donizetti’s music will be performed by vocalists in Tudor costume.
The Tudors will tour from 7 September until 30 November. Follow the link to find out when the production will be nearest to you and for tickets.
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