The Australian soprano reflects on the challenges of singing Donizetti’s tragic Anna Bolena.

While Anna Bolena is definitely on the larger end of the bel cantoroles, it still requires great flexibility, as well as heft and drama where required. It is a great thrill to sing and while it is perhaps ‘heavier’ than some other bel cantoroles – mostly due to the intense dramatic situation Anna finds herself in – one must remember to maintain a lilt and ease so that the voice remains flexible. There are also a number of lower notes: the bottom register is well applied by Donizetti to add drama and colour, and I absolutely love using a wide range of colours to characterise her journey. The challenges of the role lie in matching the tessitura and the weight or volume. There are also a number of added cadenzas and high notes, so finding the balance between the elements is crucial. Anna is extremely fun to sing, as well as technically challenging – but again therein lies the fun too!

Donizetti’s Anna Bolenadeparts from the historical details in a number of ways, done for dramatic licence. However, there is much that corresponds...