Barbarian hordes led by one of history’s most infamous warriors bear down on the northeastern Roman city of Aquileia… In Arturo Gama's exciting 2010 production of Verdi’s Attila, Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov stars as the notorious Hun pitted against the brave patriot Odabella (soprano Anna Markarova) and her countrymen Ezio (baritone Vladislav Sulimsky) and Foresto (tenor Sergei Skorokhodov). Valery Gergiev leads the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra in one of Verdi’s least well-known scores.
Styled as a historical drama, Attila is a thinly veiled nod to Verdi’s support for Italian independence, the hot-button issue of mid-19th century Italy. Loosely-inspired by Attila the Hun’s 5th century invasion of the Roman Empire, the opera explores what happens when a people rises up against foreign invaders to claim its independence. Its premiere at Venice’s La Fenice in March 1846 was met with considerable enthusiasm, yet it fell out of the standard opera repertoire until the mid-20th century, when Carlo Maria Giulini revived the opera at the 1951 Venice Festival, and has since then asserted its place among the masterpieces of the composer's œuvre.
Photo: N. Razina