In the Queen’s apartments in Windsor castle, there is an expectant feeling as the people wait for the king’s arrival (‘Nè venne il re?’). Their mood is also ominous as they can know what is about to happen. King Enrico has been withdrawing his affection from his current wife, Anna Bolena, and his behavior tells them he has found himself a new woman. His knights have seen this happen before, with his first wife, and they know that the queen’s time of happiness is due to end.
Giovanna Seymour, Anna’s lady-in-waiting, has been called, and is rather flustered (‘Ella di me, sollecita’). She is worried that the queen knows something about Giovanna’s secret. The atmosphere is tense when Anna arrives with her retinue, and Anna notices it immediately. She calls to her musician, Smeton, to sing for them to try and lighten the mood, and to bring some peace to her own heart. Smeton obliges, and offers a sweet song flattering the queen’s beauty (‘Deh! Non voler costringere’).
Anna Bolena guide sections