LONDON 4-LPs OSA 1436: DONIZETTI - Anna Bolena, Varviso, UK 1970
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Background on this item -
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (29 November 1797 – 8 April 1848) was an Italian composer from Bergamo, Lombardy. Some of his best known works are the operas L'elisir d'amore (1832), Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), and Don Pasquale (1843), all in Italian, and the French operas La favorita and La fille du régiment (both from 1840). Along with Vincenzo Bellini and Gioachino Rossini, he was a leading composer of bel canto opera.

The youngest of three sons, Donizetti was born in 1797 in Bergamo's Borgo Canale quarter located just outside the city walls. His family was very poor with no tradition of music, his father being the caretaker of the town pawnshop. Nevertheless, Donizetti received some musical instruction from Simon Mayr, a German composer of internationally successful operas who had become maestro di cappella at Bergamo's principal church in 1802.

Donizetti was not especially successful as a choirboy, but in 1806 he was one of the first pupils to be enrolled at the Lezioni Caritatevoli school, founded by Mayr, in Bergamo through a full scholarship. He received detailed training in the arts of fugue and counterpoint, and it was here that he launched his operatic career. After some minor compositions under the commission of Paolo Zancla, Donizetti wrote his ninth opera, Zoraida di Granata. This work impressed Domenico Barbaia, a prominent theatre manager, and Donizetti was offered a contract to compose in Naples. Writing in Rome and Milan in addition to Naples, Donizetti achieved some popular success in the 1820s (although critics were often unimpressed), but was not well known internationally until 1830, when his Anna Bolena was premiered in Milan. He almost instantly became famous throughout Europe. L'elisir d'amore, a comedy produced in 1832, came soon after, and is deemed one of the masterpieces of 19th-century opera buffa (as is his Don Pasquale, written for Paris in 1843). Shortly after L'elisir d'amore, Donizetti composed Lucia di Lammermoor, based on the Sir Walter Scott novel The Bride of Lammermoor. It became his most famous opera, and one of the high points of the bel canto tradition, reaching stature similar to Bellini's Norma.

After the success of Lucrezia Borgia (1833) consolidated his reputation, Donizetti followed the paths of both Rossini and Bellini by visiting Paris, but his opera Marin Faliero suffered by comparison with Bellini's I puritani, and he returned to Naples to produce his already-mentioned masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor. As Donizetti's fame grew, so did his engagements, as he was further hired to write in both France and Italy. In 1838, he moved to Paris after the Italian censor objected to the production of Poliuto (on the grounds that such a sacred subject was inappropriate for the stage); there he wrote La fille du régiment, which became another success.

As a conductor, he led the premiere of Rossini's Stabat Mater.

Donizetti's wife, Virginia Vasselli, gave birth to three children, none of whom survived. Within a year of his parents' deaths, his wife, on 30 July 1837, died from cholera. By 1843, Donizetti exhibited symptoms of syphilis and probable bipolar disorder. After being institutionalized in 1845, he was sent to Paris, where he could be cared for. After visits from friends, including Giuseppe Verdi, Donizetti was sent back to Bergamo, his hometown. After several years in the grip of insanity, he died in 1848 in the house of the noble family Scotti. After his death Donizetti was buried in the cemetery of Valtesse but in the late 19th century his body was transferred to Bergamo's Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore near the grave of his teacher Simon Mayr.

Donizetti is best known for his operatic works, but he also wrote music in a number of other forms, including some church music, a number of string quartets, and some orchestral works. He was the younger brother of Giuseppe Donizetti, who had become, in 1828, Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music at the court of Sultan Mahmud II (1808–1839).

Anna Bolena is a tragedia lirica, or opera, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Felice Romani wrote the Italian libretto after Ippolito Pindemonte's Enrico VIII ossia Anna Bolena and Alessandro Pepoli's Anna Bolena, both telling of the life of Anne Boleyn. It premiered on 26 December 1830 at the Teatro Carcano, Milan.

The duet "Sul suo capo aggravi un Dio" between Anna (soprano) and Jane Seymour (mezzo soprano) is considered one of the finest in the entire operatic repertoire.

It is one of a number of operas by Donizetti which deal with the Tudor period in English history, including Roberto Devereux (named for a putative lover of Queen Elizabeth I of England), Maria Stuarda (named for Mary, Queen of Scots) and Il castello di Kenilworth. The lead female characters of the operas Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, and Roberto Devereux are often referred to as the "Three Donizetti Queens."

After the opening performances in Italy in 1830, Anna Bolena was first given in London at the King's Theatre on 8 July 1831 while its first US performance was given in New Orleans at the Théâtre d'Orléans on 12 November 1839. The opera was performed infrequently during the latter half of 19th century and early 20th century, but it was revived with more frequency in the post-war years. The Santa Fe Opera claims to have given "the first full stage production in over a century" in the US on 26 June 1959. On 30 December 1947, the opera was performed at Gran Teatre del Liceu in  Barcelona, celebrating the centennial of this theatre, which had opened in 1847 with Anna Bolena. The cast was Sara Scuderi as Anna, Giulietta Simionato as Jane Seymour and Cesare Siepi as Henry VIII.

In April 1957, the opera was revived at La Scala for Maria Callas in a lavish production directed by Luchino Visconti, and it proved to be one of her greatest triumphs. Similarly it was one of the last new roles performed by Dame Joan Sutherland. Other famous interpreters of the role were Leyla Gencer, Montserrat Caballé, Renata Scotto, Edita Gruberova and Mariella Devia. In addition, Beverly Sills earned some degree of fame in the 1970s, when she appeared in all three operas in a series presented by New York City Opera.

Anna Bolena is regularly performed now and there are several recordings. It was presented by the Dallas Opera in November 2010, the Vienna State Opera in spring 2011 (with Anna Netrebko in the title role), and by the Metropolitan Opera for the first time in September 2011 — for the opening of the New York company's 2011-2012 season, with Netrebko, and with David McVicar directing.

Time: 1536
Place: Windsor and London
Act 1
Scene One: Night. Windsor Castle, Queen's apartments
Courtiers comment that the queen’s star is setting, because the king’s fickle heart burns with another love.

Jane Seymour enters to attend a call by the Queen, Anna enters and notes that people seem sad. The queen admits being troubled to Jane. At the queen’s request, her page Smeton plays the harp and sings to cheer the people present. The queen asks him to stop. Unheard by any one else, she says to herself that the ashes of her first love are still burning, and that she is now unhappy in her vain splendor. All leave, except Jane.

Henry VIII enters, he tells Jane that soon she will have no rival, that the altar has been prepared for her, that she will have husband, sceptre, and throne. Each leaves by a different door.

Scene Two: Day. Around Windsor Castle
Lord Rochefort, Anna’s brother, is surprised to meet Lord Richard Percy, who has been called back to England from exile by Henry VIII. Percy asks if it is true that the Queen is unhappy and that the King has changed. Rochefort answers that love is never content.

Hunters enter. Percy is agitated at the prospect of possibly seeing Anna, who was his first love. Henry and Anna enter and express surprise at seeing Percy. Henry does not allow Percy to kiss his hand, but says that Anna has given him assurances of Percy’s innocence but she still has feelings for Percy. Henry VIII tells Hervey, an officer of the king, to be the spy of every step and every word of Anna and Percy.

Scene Three: Windsor Castle, close to the Queen's apartments
Smeton takes a locket from his breast containing Anna’s portrait. He has stolen it and has come to return it. He hears a sound and hides behind a screen. Anna and Rochefort enter. Rochefort asks Anna to hear Percy. Then he leaves. Smeton peeps out from behind the screen, but cannot escape. Percy enters. Percy says that he sees that Anna is unhappy. She tells him that the king now loathes her. Percy says that he still loves her. Anna tells him not to speak to her of love. Before leaving, Percy asks whether he can see Anna again. She says no. He draws his sword to stab himself, and Anna screams. In the mistaken belief that Percy is attacking Anna, Smeton rushes out from behind the screen. Smeton and Percy are about to fight. Anna faints, and Rochefort rushes in. Just then, Henry VIII enters and sees the unsheathed swords. Summoning attendants, he says that these persons have betrayed their king. Smeton says that it is not true, and tears open his tunic to offer his breast to the king for slaying if he is lying. The locket with Anna’s portrait falls at the king’s feet. The king snatches it up. He orders that the offenders be dragged to dungeons. Anna says to herself that her fate is sealed.

Act 2
Scene One: London. Antechamber of the Queen's apartments
The guards note that even Jane Seymour has stayed away from Anna. Anna enters with a retinue of ladies, who tell her to place her trust in heaven. Hervey enters and says that the Council of Peers has summoned the ladies into its presence. The ladies leave with Hervey. Jane enters and says that Anna can avoid being put to death by admitting guilt. Anna says that she will not buy her life with infamy. She expresses the hope that her successor will wear a crown of thorns. Jane admits that she is to be the successor. Anna tells her to leave, but says that Henry VIII alone is the guilty one. Jane leaves, deeply upset.

Scene Two: Antechamber leading into the hall where the Council of Peers is meeting
Hervey tells courtiers that Anna is lost, because Smeton has talked and has revealed a crime. Henry VIII enters. Hervey says that Smeton has fallen into the trap. Henry VIII tells Hervey to continue to let Smeton believe that he has saved Anna's life. Anna and Percy are brought in, separately. Henry VIII says that Anna has made love to the page Smeton, and that there are witnesses. He says that both Anna and Percy will die. Percy says that it is written in heaven that he and Anna are married. They are led away by guards.

Jane enters. She says that she does not want to be the cause of Anna's death. Henry VIII says that she will not save Anna by leaving. Hervey enters and says that the Council has dissolved the royal marriage and has condemned Anna and her accomplices to death. Courtiers and Jane ask the king to be merciful. He tells them to leave.

Scene Three: Tower of London
Percy and Rochefort are together in their cell. Hervey enters and says that the king has pardoned them. They ask about Anna. Hearing that she is to be executed, they choose to be executed also. They leave, surrounded by guards.

In Anna's cell, a chorus of ladies comment on her madness and grief. Anna enters, she imagines that it is her wedding day to the king. Then she imagines that she sees Percy, and she asks him to take her back to her childhood home. Percy, Rochefort and Smeton are brought in. Smeton throws himself at Anna's feet and says that he accused her in the belief that he was saving her life. In delirium, Anna asks him why he is not playing his lute. The sound of cannon is heard. Anna comes to her senses. She is told that Jane and Henry VIII are being acclaimed by the populace on their wedding day. Anna says that she does not invoke vengeance on the wicked couple. She faints. Guards enter to lead the prisoners to the block. Smeton, Percy and Rochefort say that one victim has already been sacrificed.

LONDON Records 4-LP boxed set - BLACK record labels with SILVER lettering. The famous record label logo is in the top half of the label, noted as “FFRR", with “Made in England” starting at the 9 o’clock position, above the silver stripe. Under the logo is a silver stripe with the word “STEREOPHONIC” contained inside the stripes dimensions - see pictures
Records Made in: ENGLAND (UK / Great Britain)
Pressings are in STEREO - the set comes in a large, heavy cardboard outer box with a large, detailed filled multi-page libretto / booklet with information regarding the performance, performers, etc..
Record Speed: 33 1/3 rpm
Records Made in: 1970 - LONG OUT OF PRINT - the stamper information etched on the run out grooves also indicates a very early pressing.
Record Catalog Number: OSA 1436

This listing is for a very rare, out of print title featuring the music of -

Domenico Gaetano Maria DONIZETTI

LP Title -

Performers include -
Elena Souliotis
Nicolai Ghiaurov
Marilyn Horne
John Alexander
Stafford Dean
Janet Coster
Piero de Palma
Silvio Varviso, conductor
The Vienna Opera Orchestra and the Chorus of the Vienna State Opera
Norbert Balatsch, Chorus Master

The heavy, BOX is in Near Mint minus condition!
The box is almost completely intact with just a small split at one corner (very heavy set!) - it does have a bit of wear at the seams, but nothing serious - have a close look at the pictures and you will better see and understand the condition of this item.
The jacket has NO drill holes or saw marks of any kind on the box, but the inner record sleeves have a saw mark on each of them.
There is NO hand writing on the front, inside or the back of the jacket or on the libretto.
The cover has clean and sharp colors - see pictures with this listing for more detail.

The LPs (vinyl) itself:
The LPs are in near MINT minus condition!! - A finer copy of this vintage LP set would be very difficult to find. It could be that this particular set may have never been played!!
The LPs retain much of the original gloss and sheen!
The records have NO serious marks on them, obviously well taken care of.
The record labels have NO significant spindle marks on them.
This is the superb copy you have always wanted in your collection - any super picky audiophile should be happy with this one!
This LP does have some light marks (spider marks mostly) which are caused by sliding the LP in and out of the inner sleeve and are usually not audible on most audio systems

Please understand that this is a vintage record set - as such, one cannot expect the vinyl to sound like a brand new, audiophile pressing! Some noise is inevitable - for best results, always properly clean your LPs before playing them.

The LP is an audiophile quality pressing (any collector of fine MFSL, half speeds, direct to discs, Japanese/UK pressings etc., can attest to the difference a quality pressing can make to an audio system).

A Short Note About LP GRADING -
Mint {M} = Only used for sealed items.
Near Mint {NM} = Virtually flawless in every way.
Near Mint Minus {NM-} = Item has some minor imperfections, some audible.
Excellent {EXC} = Item obviously played and enjoyed with some noise.
Very Good Plus {VG+} = Many more imperfections which are noticeable and obtrusive.

Don't let this rarity slip by!!!

  • Item #: London 4LPs OSA 1436 NM
  • Manufacturer: London Records
  • Condition: Used

LONDON 4-LPs OSA 1436: DONIZETTI - Anna Bolena, Varviso, UK 1970

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