Artist of the Week: Diana Damrau
German Soprano Makes Her Highly Anticipated Role Debut as Anna BolenaBy Francisco Salazar
This week the Opernahus Zürich will open a new production of Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena,” continuing its Tudor cycle with director David Alden furthering his exploration of the queens after receiving rave reviews for “Maria Stuarda.” Despite Alden’s prominence in the director’s chair there’s no doubt that the spotlight of this production will shine most fiercely on soprano Diana Damrau as she makes her role debut as Anna Bolena.
With Bolena, Damrau will move one role closer to singing all three Tudor queens, a feat few sopranos in history have accomplished. Damrau made her role debut as Maria Stuarda in Zürich before bringing her interpretation to Berlin. Critics raved about her performance stating, “throughout the opera, Damrau was musically and dramatically magnificent. She rose superbly to the myriad challenges of this great, multifaceted role: in particular, her limpid soft singing and seemingly limitless breath control were extraordinary.” Her interpretation of the role was eventually recorded in Zürich when she reprised it in 2020.
Last year the soprano gave audiences a preview of her Anna Bolena when she released her Tudor Queens album with OperaWire noting her mad scene was “compelling and musically rich.” Audiences should expect nothing less from the star soprano when she opens the new production.
Damrau has been a huge exponent of Donizetti throughout her career, singing “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Linda di Chamonix,” “L’Elisir d’Amore,” “Don Pasquale,” and “La Fille du Régiment.”
For audiences not in Zürich, the soprano will reprise her Anna Bolena at the Wiener Staatsoper later this season and is set to make her role debut as the countess in “Capriccio.” She is also set to go on tour with Jonas Kaufmann.
In anticipation of her role debut, audiences should check out Damrau’s Tudor Queens recording as well as her two recordings of “Lucia di Lammermoor” from the Royal Opera House and CD. The soprano also has recordings of such Bel Canto gems as “I Puritani” and “Le Comte Ory.”
Here is a preview of Anna Bolena’s first aria:
And here she is singing “Coppia Iniqua”:
Finally here is Damrau singing Maria Stuarda: