See my preview of tonight's performance by Washington Concert Opera:
Washington Concert Opera to Perform “Attila” (The Washingtonian, September 8):
The fall opera season gets underway this Friday with the first performance of the season from the Washington Concert Opera, an unstaged performance of Verdi’s Attila. Premiered in 1846, this is an early Verdi opera, and it has the dramatic weaknesses (and melodic strengths) of such. The libretto is a bit of a hash, with different parts completed by two poets, Francesco Piave and Temistocle Solera—neither of whose work the composer really approved. It tells the story of Attila the Hun’s advance into Italy, in which he took Aquileia but was unable to take Rome. The way the story is usually told, Rome was saved thanks to intervention from Pope Leo the Great, but the details of the famous meeting of invader and pope are likely apocryphal. Verdi’s libretto pushes the character of Pope Leo into the background, as the daughter of the ruler of ruined Aquileia, Odabella, becomes the main opponent of Attila. In the libretto, based on a play by Friedrich Werner, she even foils other plots to kill Attila and takes her revenge by killing him with a sword. [Continue reading]
Verdi, Attila, S. Ramey, C. Studer, N. Shicoff, La Scala, R. Muti
(re-released on February 9, 2010)
EMI 3 09106 2 | 115'51"
Raphael's depiction of the meeting of Attila and Leo the Great in the Vatican