Sondra Radvanovsky (Anna Bolena) and Sonia Ganassi (Giovanna Seymour) in Anna Bolena, Washington National Opera, 2012 (photo by Scott Suchman)
There were other high points, too, beginning with the company debut of Georgian tenor Shalva Mukeria, who sang the role for his U.S. debut at Santa Fe Opera in 2004. As Riccardo, Anne's former love, he had clarion high notes with plenty of room-filling squillo, a plaintive legato and sobbing tone, but was stiff as a board in his acting, less than believable as the ardent Percy. Mezzo-soprano Sonia Ganassi, last heard in Werther last spring, was good in the role of Giovanna Seymour, Anne's rival, especially in the Act II duet ("Sul suo capo aggravi un Dio") with Radvanovsky, one of the opera's best pieces, but with a somewhat mousy presence that prevented her from becoming a more brilliant foil to Anne. With some of the best little set pieces in the opera, mezzo-soprano Claudia Huckle, a former Domingo-Cafritz artist, had an excellent turn as Smeton, Anne's court musician. Bass Oren Gradus had a mixed company debut as Henry VIII, swaggering with a rough-hewn tone until he hit a bad patch in the second act, cracking badly on a high note ("Giustizia!).
Anne Midgette, Radvanovsky shines in Washington National Opera’s ‘Anna Bolena’ (Washington Post, September 17)
---, Sondra Radvanovsky prepares for Washington National Opera’s ‘Anna Bolena’ (Washington Post, September 14)
This production continues through October 6, at the Kennedy Center Opera House.