Depicting the fateful final days of Anne Boleyn, the second of Henry VIII's six wives, Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti's Anna Bolena continues to elicit palpable heartache from the tragic tale of a woman who is not only cruelly spurned by her husband, but served a divorce via an executioner's blade. This grim tale constitutes a third of Donizetti's "Tudor Trilogy," three operas unified by their focus on the romantic anguish and bloody deeds of the era's reigning monarchy. Like the Minnesota Opera's recent productions of the other two works in the trilogy, 2010's staging of Roberto Devereux and 2011's staging of Mary Stuart, Anna Bolena promises a regal spectacle courtesy of a returning crew of stage director Kevin Newbury, set designer Neil Patel, costume designer Jessica Jahn, and lighting designer D.M. Wood. Delivering the emotional gravitas is a world-class cast headlined by the acclaimed soprano Keri Alkema, making her Minnesota Opera debut in the title role. Alkema stands to be well matched by such exceptionally evocative voices as mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese (as romantic rival Giovanna Seymour), bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen (as the callous Henry VIII), and tenor David Portillo (as Lord Percy, the queen's former betrothed). Though the historic Anne Boleyn belongs to the distant past, this eloquently rendered production offers impassioned empathy for a queen whose coronation proved a fatal affair. For tickets and info, call 612.333.6669 or visit www.mnopera.org.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 10. Continues through Nov. 18, 2012