Opera Scotland

Anna Bolena 1872Her Majesty's Italian Opera

Read more about the opera Anna Bolena

Mapleson brought his company to the central belt in late winter 1872 and again in the autumn. On both visits a stay in Glasgow was followed by a few days in Edinburgh. The only comparative novelty was Donizetti's Anna Bolena.

The first visit began at Glasgow Theatre Royal, starting on Thursday, 22 February for a week and a half. The Edinburgh stay was also for ten nights, opening with Donizetti's first international success, apparently having its first performance in Scotland.

The great singing actress Therese 'Titiens' was at the height of her powers, while the excellent Belgian bass Luigi Agnesi made an impressive Henry. This was his local debut, and he would return every year until his early death in 1875.

The late winter schedule was as follows, starting on Thursday, 22 February:

Glasgow: Thu 22 Feb Don Pasquale; Fri 23 Lucrezia Borgia; Sat 24 Flauto Magico; Mon 26 Figlia del Reggimento; Tue 27 Huguenots; Wed 28 Sonnambula; Thu 29 Robert le Diable; Fri 1 Mar Barbiere di Siviglia; Sat 2 Fidelio.

Edinburgh: Mon 4 Mar Anna Bolena; Tue 5 Sonnambula; Wed 6 Robert le Diable; Thu 7 Don Pasquale; Fri 8 Freischütz; Sat 9 Flauto Magico; Mon 11 Don Pasquale; Tue 12 Huguenots; Wed 13 Figlia del Reggimento; Thu 14 Fidelio.

27 February was originally scheduled for the Scottish premiere of Anna Bolena, but this was cancelled, leaving the single performance in Edinburgh. The reason lay in the indisposition of one of the singers required for Les Huguenots on Friday 23 February. This was replaced by the ever-popular Lucrezia Borgia. Reluctant to lose the healthy box office take associated with Meyerbeer's historical epic, Les Huguenots was then slipped into the schedule on Tuesday 27, replacing the almost unknown Anna Bolena.

The return visit began on 28 October:

Glasgow: Mon 28 Oct Lucrezia Borgia; Tue 29 Sonnambula; Wed 30 Trovatore; Thu 31 Flauto Magico; Fri 1 Nov Figlia del Reggimento; Sat 2 mat Huguenots; Sat 2 eve Barbiere di Siviglia; Mon 4 Faust; Tue 5 Marta; Wed 6 Don Giovanni.

Edinburgh: Thu 7 Nov Lucrezia Borgia; Fri 8 Don Pasquale; Sat 9 Flauto Magico; Mon 11 Marta; Tue 12 Trovatore; Wed 13 Sonnambula; Thu 14 Don Giovanni; Fri 15 Lucia di Lammermoor; Sat 16 Semiramide

The Scotsman of Tuesday 5 March sums up the Edinburgh performance of Anna Bolena with enthusiasm:

'The most striking passages were the concerted music in which Mdlles Titiens and Colombo, and Signori Vezzani and Agnesi took part. Of the latter gentleman, as he is a stranger here, we must add that he is a very great acquisition to the stage. We have seldom seen a more studied performance than his representation of the king; there seemed to be scarcely a motion of his finger that had not been thought of beforehand. Mdlle Titiens is so well known that we need not say more of her than that we have seldom seen her act better. Anna Bolena is a part that gives her great scope for the display of her histrionic powers, and she avails herself of it to the full.

'Signor Licalsi conducted with his usual ability, and both band and chorus went very well together.'

Performance Cast

Anna Bolena Anne Boleyn, second Queen to Henry VIII

Therese Tietjens

Giovanna Jane Seymour, Anne's lady-in-waiting

Mdlle Colombo

Enrico Henry VIII, King of England

Luigi Agnesi

Rochefort Lord Rochford, brother of Anne, friend of Percy

Signor Casaboni

Riccardo Lord Percy, formerly betrothed to Anne

Signor Vizzani

Hervey Lord Hervey, Court Official

Antonio Rinaldini

Smeton Mark Smeaton, page and musician

Mdlle Bundsen

Production Cast


Signor Li Calsi

Performance DatesAnna Bolena 1872

Map List

Theatre Royal, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

4 Mar, 00.00

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