Anna Bolena – An outstanding success!
After last year’s extremely successful production of Maria Stuarda in 2015, with Elena Xanthoudakis singing to huge acclaim the role of Mary Stuart, Melbourne Opera returned with Donizetti’s second in a trilogy of ‘Tudor Queens’ staging Australia’s Professional premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena by Melbourne’s own company – Melbourne Opera
In a strong cast including Dimity Shepherd, Boyd Owen, reviews for the production with Costumes by Jennie Tate from Opera Australia as a new performing edition and translation from Maestro Richard Divall have been exceptionally high on praise.
Reviews of Elena Xanthoudakis:
“…soprano Elena Xanthoudakis gives a tour de force performance in the title role. In an impressively calibrated performance, Xanthoudakis dazzles with her sharp dramatic focus and incredible stamina”
“Following a spellbinding mad scene and gorgeous prayer, set to the strains of “Home, Sweet Home,” Xanthoudakis produces a final flourish of splendour, still sounding like she could go back the start and sing the whole opera again.”
Man in the Chair – Simon Parris, November 3rd
“Soprano Elena Xanthoudakis, as Anne, expressed the requisite pathos of the doomed queen and channeled it in rich supple-voiced splendour…when Xanthoudakis took on the madness of Act 2’s Coppia Iniqua and subsequent final defiant burst, her performance was complete.”
Herald-Sun, Paul Sellar, November 4th
In the title role, Elena Xanthoudakis was compelling, effortlessly negotiating Donizetti’s challenging vocal writing and acting powerfully as she did it.
The Australian, November 7th
Xanthoudakis has a fine soprano voice and is blessed with superlative technique and acting ability. What a performance this is! Whenever Xanthoudakis was on stage, the audience was riveted by Anne’s plight. The Act II mad scene that ends the opera, with its Home Sweet Home reminiscence, was especially poignant.
Australian Book Review – Rob Holdsworth, November 7th
Certainly, this performance boasted a most distinguished Anna in soprano Elena Xanthoudakis… The role is long and cruel, but Xanthoudakis tackled it fearlessly, but also, particularly in the final act, with grace and humility.
The Sydney Morning Herald – Michael Shmith, November 7th
..Xanthoudakis proved to be a continuous delight.
Physically, she could not have been more appropriate. Helen might have launched a thousand ships but Henry’s infatuation with Anne changed the course of a more modern history that continues to have an impact on our lives. Also totally convincing as an actress, Xanthoudakis invested every action and word with meaning. Even when self-consciously theatrical her movement was consistent with the courtly persona that Anne inhabited. Emotionally engaged and engaging, she was the sympathetic figure created by Donizetti and his librettist, Felice Romani. Vocally, Xanthoudakis went from strength to strength, negotiating the coloratura passages with admirable agility and warm, well-projected beauty of tone. Even throughout the range and with emotionally coloured dark chest notes, her voice rode the ensembles with ease and her secure top notes soared. Her singing of the “Home Sweet Home” variation in the final scene when Anne becomes half demented in the face of death was particularly poignant.
Classic Melbourne, Heather Leviston, November 4th
Australian-Greek soprano Elena Xanthoudakis returns to MO in the second of Donizetti’s “Three Tudor Queens”. She is completely engrossing through her exquisite voice, accomplished acting and nuanced rendition of the character. Her voice is radiant; moving easily from a brilliant upper register, seamlessly though to her rich and powerful chest voice. As a stage presence, she is confident, rendering tiny gestures to match the agility of her singing. This portrayal of Anne is a real person caught between her overly ambitious struggle to get to the pinnacle of power and paying the price for the tension and upheaval she created. Ms Xanthoudakis left nothing wanting in her performance. The massively demanding solos, followed by multiple returns in cabaletta or ensemble give the performer little recovery time. She delivered dazzling musical capability matched with touching emotional glimpses into the mind of her character. This was indeed a towering performance which drew wildly enthusiastic responses at each opportunity. Her interpretation of Anne is as multi-faceted as her previous performances as Mary Stuart; we can only look forward expectantly to her future appearances.
ConcertNet.com The Classical Music Network – Gregory Pritchard, 2nd November
Elena Xanthoudakis had great command of her role as Anne Boleyn and by the end of the show reached a palpable depth of emotion.
Stagewhispers, Patricia Di Risio
The role of Anne is sung by Australian soprano Elena Xanthoudakis. Her voice has incredible resonance and clarity even while striving to the lofty heights of her vocal range.
In Review (IR) – RMITV, Fiona Murphy, November 3rd
“Dynamic singing, led by soprano Elena Xanthoudakis, is to the fore in this production….After a strong performance as Melbourne Opera’s Maria Stuarda, Xanthoudakis again impressed in the title role. She demonstrated admirable stamina and technique, ably tackling the role’s demanding coloratura trills, leaps and high notes right through to the intense final scene. Vocally and dramatically, it was a performance of considerable pathos.”
Performing ArtsHub – Patricia Maunder
Anne Boleyn Elena Xanthoudakis
Henry VIII Eddie Muliaumaseali’i
Jane Seymour Sally Wilson
Henry Percy Boyd Owen
Lord Rochford Phillip Calcagno
Mark Smeaton Dimity Shepherd
Hervey Geoffrey Harris
Melbourne Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor Greg Hocking, Raymond Lawrence
Director Suzanne Chaundy
Set designer Christina Logan-Bell
Lighting designer Lucy Birkinshaw
Costume designer Jennie Tate and Christina Logan-Bell
Translation and performing edition Richard Divall
Photography by Robin Halls