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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whelp, I did it. I went and got the Theodossiou one, but.... That does not mean I can't go binge on this opera, but I have spent about $200 on music this year already and my sort-of New Year's resolution was to spend less than last year. Well at this rate I'll blow that by the end of the month.

I knew there was a used copy of the Theodossiou set at Dearborn Music so I swung by on my way to the grocery store (about 14 miles out of the way, ha ha) and when i found it was only $14.99 for a used copy in excellent condition, I could not resist. I will say that the sound is very good, well balanced between the soloists, choral parts and music. I really like Theodossiou and first heard her in the DVD of this same opera that I recently watched (different singers than the CD set). The Theodossiou set is a live performance from about 2000 and is complete on three discs.

Here she is in a You Tube clip from the DVD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, I have the Callas Anna Bolena. Callas was my introduction to this opera. I'll give each of the above CD recommendations a listen (clips).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I watched the Theodossiou clip. It's a bit of a scream and the fast scale passages are a bit sketchy to say the least.

One gripe with the staging, and Theodossiou is not the only one guilty of this, why do so many singers, presumably backed up by their producers, feel the need to scrabble around in the dirt? She was a queen, and even in desperate circumstances, particularly with the court around her, would behave like one. We don't have video evidence of Callas's performances, but in her voice one not only hears outrage, but the outrage of a queen. Such a small point, but an important one.
The recording I think is better than the DVD. As one reviewer on Amazon noted,
Her vocal state has deteriorated since her audio-only commercial release of Anna.
It appears there are about 7 years between the two. Anyway, I like it, but am still going to check out some other recordings. I have Callas so there is not much value for me to look at other older recordings, but prefer something newer with higher sound quality, and the Theodossiou recording does give very good sound quality. Here are some clips for the sound recording.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, these clips do sound a lot better.

The sound quality on the Suliotis recording is pretty spectacular Decca analogue sound, by the way.
I'll check the Suliotis recording out. As far as DVDs go, the Anna Netrebko / Elīna Garanča performance is probably much better. I may watch on You Tube.

There is something strange about the story though. I found it odd when towards the end of the opera it comes out that Anna was married to Percy before she became queen. It seems that Henry was not aware of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Betrothed, not married, which in those days was more like our engaged. If they had been married, they would have had to get a divorce. Incidentally, the story as told in the opera is not historically accurate, though Anna Bolenais a little closer to history than some of the others. Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I never met, for instance.

I've seen some of the Netrebko, by the way. She never convinces me in bel canto opera, and she too indulges in too much unseemly grovelling on the floor. Her characterisation is altogether too modern.
In the Biblical sense and the conservative part of Lutheranism would consider engagement (betrothal) as tantamount to marriage. I even recall reading a translation of Martin Luther where he said that if an engaged couple had sex, it would not be fornication, though improper because the state requirement had not been completed. So when the Anna Bolena opera indicates they were married, it is a broken engagement, which makes a lot more sense for the story.

Well, I wonder if there is a good DVD of Anna Bolena (Sutherland just looks too aged for the part IMO). I wonder if there are any Mariella Devia DVDs of this opera, perhaps at PremiereOpera? Seems like Mariella would make a good queen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Just won on ebay. Used good condition for $10. Couldn't resist.


Now I have all four of Donizetti's queens. Number 4 being this gem I picked up a couple weeks ago:


My other Anna Bolena's being Callas and Theodossiou, and my other Maria Stuarda being this (also picked up a couple weeks ago):
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
schigolch, do you recommend this Scotto set?

Interesting, but that brings me to my next question. The Scotto CD cover says "Complete Opera" and "Two CD Set." However my Theodossiou set says "First Complete Recording" and is 3 CDs:


What is the story here? Both the Theodossiou CD and DVD (which are different performances) are 3 hours long, but many of the other Anna Bolena CD sets I see are 2 CD? What are we missing? Why do they not produce the whole opera? I think the only other exception is Sills, which is 3 CDs (so Theodossiou's is not the first complete recording).

Oh, and in case anyone hasn't sensed it yet, I think I am getting Anna Bolena fever. I just watched the Sutherland DVD and it spurred me to start scoping other CD sets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Ok, looks like the Gruberova and Sutherland Bolena sets are each 3 CDs. Generally the 2 CD sets run about 2 hr 20 min whereas the 3 CD sets run 3 hr 10-20 min.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Sills' recording is 3 hr. 14 min.
So any 2CD affair must be approached with caution.
Of course, I would not be without Callas recording, which runs merely 2 hr. 20 min (that's almost 55 minutes shorter!!!)
My thoughts exactly!

Interestingly, the Sutherland DVD is 2 hrs 17 minutes, whereas the Sutherland CD set is 3 hrs 12 minutes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Thanks Conte. Then it is worth having for the complete opera, but I think also another bonus is Sonia Ganassi.

Currently listening to Sills' Anna Bolena and likeing it very much.

Just purchased this one (paid more than for the whole Donizetti Sills 3 Queens set which I got for only $10 slightly smoky smelling)
Sleeve One-piece garment Font Magenta Formal wear
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
For that price one can't be to critical.
A few hours in the backyard and fresh again:tiphat:
They aired out just fine and I could not complain at the price since the set was going for about $50 used anywhere else. Sutherland's Anna Bolena is well worth the $15.50 shipped it is costing me. I also picked up an English libretto to Anna Bolena the other day for $3 at a used bookstore (and a German/English one for Lohengrin for $4.80), so I can see Anna Bolena looming very large on my horizon alongside Maria Stuarda. Next Roberto Devereux!
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
I started listening to my Anna Bolena sets again after a long time, but only the 3-CD sets. Of those I have Theodossiou, Sills, and Sutherland, this one is really working well for me. Liking it a lot. Might try Gruberova if I ever find a set with a reasonable price, but otherwise, Sutherland is the one that gets a place on my MP3 player for now.

 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Amazon France has one, or the shipping cost ridiculous high?
They are coming in around $20 plus $10 shipping, though bookbutler is not always accurate on shipping cost. I found where I can get it used for $25 shipped, but that is steep for me on this particular opera, which is not my favorite queen--yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Really? I consider that one of Sutherland's weakest studio recordings. (IMHO it was recorded too late in her career.) I am a huge Theodossiou fan so that possibly colours my view somewhat. I will have to give the Sutherland another listen, it's been ages since I last heard it.

N.
Well, I haven't really listened for a year or so, Bolena was not my favorite Queen opera, and I listened in order to the three Theodossiou, Sills, and Sutherland. It may be the opera was growing on me as I went through them. Also I have never been a fan of Sutherland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
Just trying to get a fairly complete performance in good sound on CD I came down to these two sets. Both seem to be pretty complete. Between the two I have to go for Sutherland. Not only is Sutherland singing better, but also comparing between Sonya Prina and her counterpart on the Sutherland, I prefer the mezzo on the Sutherland set to Prina.

192 minutes (per Prestomusic.com).


198 minutes (per Prestomusic.com) and claimed to be a complete performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
That said (above), this is an interesting set that I have considered purchasing, but it is apparently not complete, being listed at 167 minutes per the Ebay listing info. But considering advice previously given in this thread,
Sutherland is caught too late, Gruberova and Sills too light of voice,.
And the fact that I don't care for the Sills set for that very reason, is a good reason for me to stay away from the Gruberova set unless, perhaps, if it is in the bargain bin.

Ah, and if Sutherland is caught too late, she still beats Theodossiou is seems.

 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
Six Foot,

the only totally complete recording is the Theodossiou, but Sutherland's can't be far behind. (I can check later for you, but there are normally cuts in the tenor aria in the second scene of act one even in the more complete performances - these cuts make sense as the aria has an odd stop - start nature to it.)

For your tastes I would imagine the Sutherland possibly is the best bet for a studio recording in modern sound, however the Callas on Myto or Divina isn't in bad sound and it's a riveting performance despite the cuts. Do you have it as well?

Do you know the Souliotis recording? I have a very good live recording with her in and I am thinking of getting her studio one, have you heard it, what do you think? I would imagine you would prefer Sutherland, but your opinion is always interesting.

N.
I have the big three: Sills, Theo, and Sutherland. I also have Gencer 1959 which is very good, but sound quality is not as good. I do have the Callas set (was my first one), and should give it another listen. But I have one more, and it appears to be a gem from a quick sampling: Renata Scotto, 1975, Julius Rudel (Opera Depot). Other than background hiss, the sound is pretty good. Yep, going to give this one a listen today!

The Scoto set and the Callas set are also not the best sound qualifyt, so I ordered the Souliotis set which sounds pretty good from You Tube clips.
 
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