The Anne of our days could be an influencer, a diva of film productions or a character of the jet set. Maybe. Five centuries ago it went through its moment of glory, quickly dissipated in tragedy. "The most influential and important queen consort England has ever had," historians defined her.
Novels and biographies first, of the most dissimilar. Objective of art and, in times of the last media expansion, with new documentaries, series, films, songs.
With his character tailored to the opera, Gaetano Donizetti composed "Anna Bolena" and premiered it at the end of 1830 in Milan with complete success. Some consider that the career of the Bergamo musician – one of the stars of belcantismo along with Rossini and Bellini – took off precisely with this work. But then it was marginalized from programming, perhaps because of its density or high technical demand.
The Tudor trilogy "Anna Bolena" returns to the Colón, where it was only performed once, in 1970. But in the City there were other stagings of the same opera, among them, the praised BA Lyrica a decade ago with the direction of the Swiss maestro Rodolfo Fischer and the singers Macarena Valenzuela and Florencia Machado in the central roles.
Some remember that it was none other than Maria Callas who revived the greatness of this opera when she starred in La Scala with production by Visconti. Experts and fans of classical music place some of the arias of "Anna Bolena" as the duet "Sul suo capo aggravi un dio" among the summits of the genre.
Donizetti demanded for the libretto the most renowned librettist of that time, Felice Romani, who made a recreation of the final month in the life of the queen consort. And there he describes the brutality of the king (Henry VIII), the ambiguity of the lady of Anna (Giovanna Seymour) and the passion of the former lover (Riccardo Percy).
It concentrates two central elements of the culture of his time: the romantic drama and the expansion of belcanto. This work completes his Three Queens or his Tudor Trilogy, which includes Mary Stuart and Robert Deveraux.
If Henry VIII deserved a Shakespearean drama, almost all the characters of that time, with Anne Boleyn at the helm, are recipients of art. One of the portraits of Anne is exhibited at the National Gallery in London but, like so many other works, its authenticity is now doubted. In "Anne of a Thousand Days" (1969), a film by Charles Jarrot, Richard Burton assumes the role of the despot, in the relationship that arises and extinguishes with Anne Boleyn, played by Geneviéve Bujold.
More recent is "The Boleyn Sisters" or "The Other Boleyn" (2008), by Justin Chadwick, with two stars: Natalia Portman and Scarlett Johansson. It deals with the relationship between Anna and her younger sister. Could not miss in that series a Netflix docudrama, "Blood, sex and royalty" where they promote "the deadliest, sexiest and most iconic monarchs in history." But, at the same time, the image they offer there of Boleyn is that of one ahead of her time, intelligent and with a fine sense of humor.
Born around 1501 in Norfolk and educated in the nobles of France, Anne Boleyn returned to her country around 1525 as a lady of the Court. Endowed with multiple knowledge for the women of her time (she spoke Latin and French, mastered dance, music and poetry) and praised for her power of seduction, she immediately became the favorite of Henry VIII, married to Catherine of Aragon.
Those novels, songs, films and biographies left extensive material on the Henry-Anne romance, left to the interpretation or taste of each. More important was the background as the breakdown of the monarch's first marriage, and his marriage to Anne, precipitated the break with the Vatican and the rise of the Anglican Church.
Some historians attribute to Anne Boleyn a decisive influence in this event, since she was a fervent Protestant: "She is more Lutheran than Luther himself". Henry VIII and Anne married secretly in January 1533, after religious leaders decreed the nullity of the previous marriage to Catherine.
And on May 31 of that same year, Anne Boleyn was proclaimed queen consort in a ceremony in London whose lavishness – according to the stories – would leave in miniature what happened a few months ago with Charles III in the same scenarios.
The brilliance of the Court was short-lived for Anne Boleyn. Although she gave birth in September of that year (a woman, the future Elizabeth I), the king and his courtiers hoped for more: an heir. Political, personal, religious intrigues came. The Boleyn star went out in the middle of the reign of a despot who, instigated by his chief advisers, ordered it arrested on May 2, 1536.
A court quickly convicted her on charges of "adultery," which history itself now considers absurd or fabricated. After 17 days of isolation, she was taken to London's Green Tower where the executioner killed her with a single blow of the sword. "I have come here to die, according to the law, and according to the law it is judged that I die, and therefore I will not say anything against it," he would have resigned, in the middle of a speech of religious devotion. Henry VIII considered himself "pious", rejecting being burned (like other victims).
Ten days later, he turned the page and married his new favorite, Jane Seymour. The fury and blood of those times without mercy is projected to this day, but fortunately, some of its characters and its episodes become objects of art.