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Donizetti’s Three Queens at the Welsh National Opera

Bel canto and Tudor history make a deep and intoxicating mix

By Alexandra Coghlan  

Sixteenth-century history has all the political intrigue and 19th-century music all the romance, so when the two come together in Donizetti’s “Three Queens” the result is pretty potent. This autumn Welsh National Opera will be making history of their own—staging the triptych of Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena and Roberto Devereux together for the first time in Britain.

Too often dismissed as empty display, Italy’s bel canto style is opera at its technical pinnacle. But while most associated today with the comedies of Rossini, where its florid excesses serve the lightest of…

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