Mezzo Alert: Giovanna, Smeton & Anna

An alert mostly to the French and the German, since Franco-German culture channel ARTE will air Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” live from Wiener Staatsoper tonight. Prepare the popcorn for 8.15 p.m. (GMT+1).

The evening stars Elīna Garanča as Giovanna Seymour, Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena, Ildebrando d’Arcangelo as Enrico VIII. and Elisabeth Kulman as Smeton the Page.

In “Anna Bolena” the mezzo page is a tragic figure, since it is Smeton’s crush on the Queen and her portrait being found with him that ultimately allows the King to condemn the Queen to death.

Much in our line of thought, ARTE has taken the broadcast as an opportunity to interview the other mezzo of the evening, Elīna Garanča, on dream roles (interestingly, she dreams of Amneris) and belcanto. The interview was conducted by Corina Kolbe and also touches on the fact that Garanča/Netrebko already co-starred as Romeo and Juliet, leading to one of the inevitable trouser roles questions:


ARTE: Als Romeo hatten Sie auf der Bühne die Hosen an. Fällt es Ihnen leicht, sich in einen Mann zu verwandeln?

ELINA GARANČA: Auf der Bühne macht es für mich keinen Unterschied, welches Geschlecht ich verkörpere. Ich glaube ohnehin, dass jeder von uns eine doppelte Sexualität in sich trägt. Frauen haben auch männliche und Männer weibliche Seiten. Wenn ich also als Romeo oder als Octavian im „Rosenkavalier“ auftrete, ist das ein reizvolles Spiel. Bei den Vorbereitungen auf meine ersten „Hosenrollen“ habe ich Männer beobachtet. Inzwischen ist mir das in Fleisch und Blut übergegangen.

[ARTE: As Romeo, you were wearing the pants onstage. Does transforming into a man come easily to you?

GARANČA: Onstage, it doesn’t make any difference to me which sex I embody. I do believe that everyone carries a double sexuality with them, anyway. Women also have masculine, and men feminine sides. So if I appear as Romeo or as Octavian in the “Rosenkavalier”, that is an appealing game. While preparing for my first trouser roles, I observed men. By now, this has become second nature to me.”]

While I hope that the event will be online for a week via Arte+7, like the recent “Nabucco” from Rome, I’m not sure. Update on that to follow tomorrow. Until then, belcanto away!

3 thoughts on “Mezzo Alert: Giovanna, Smeton & Anna”

    1. sorry, no live stream online (argh indeed).
      I hope it will be up on Arte+7 tomorrow, I’ll post as soon as I know something!


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