The New York Times | By

ONE of the largest voices in opera was ricocheting through a small Upper West Side apartment recently, as the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky practiced some fiendishly tricky bel canto passages for her radio broadcast singing the title role of Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” live from the Metropolitan Opera. Then she had to switch hats, or crowns.

Suddenly she was no longer Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I. She had moved on to the arias of Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she will play in Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda,” which opens on Friday at the Met. It is a little like switching sides: Mary, after all, questions the legitimacy of Anne Boleyn’s marriage and calls her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, a “vil bastarda,” or “vile bastard,” in one of the opera’s climactic moments.

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