Post Cards from the Edge VERDI'S Atilla - June 15, 2012, 8 pm, San Francisco War Memorial | Welcome to Fred’s Home Page

VERDI'S Atilla - June 15, 2012, 8 pm, San Francisco War Memorial 

This was a new opera for me.  I like Verdi but had no knowledge of the opera.  It is loosely based on Attila the Hun’s march toward Rome.  Odabella, in love with Foresto, seeks revenge on Attila for killing her father.  She and her maidens stand up to the huns and impress Attila so much that he offers her anything she wants.  She ask for his sword so she can kill him.  At the end of the opera, she does kill him with his own sword. 

Verdi tends to portray Attila in a humane way and as the victim of treachery and conniving by the Romans, his slave, and even by Pope Leo I.  Ezio, the Roman general wants Rome for himself, not necessarily for the emperor of Rome.  Odabella’s treachery throws off Foresto who thinks she has fallen for Attila.  In the end, she proves her love for Foresto and revenges her father.

Samuel Ramey was mentioned in the pre-opera lecture as having defined the roll of Attila in his younger years and was brought back as Leone or Pope Leo I (since it was dangerous to portray actual popes).  Furlanetto, an Italian bass performed really well as Attila.  Garcia, a Venezuelan soprano made her San Francisco Opera debut with the roll and also had an excellent voice.

Interestingly, the opera was in three acts with the first act taking place in the ruins of a Roman theater, the second act in the ruins of an opera house and the third act in the ruins of a movie theater which ran the 1954 movie Sign of the Pagan with Jack Palance as Attila on a torn screen.  The visual of the movie was interesting but was a little distracting.  I found myself watching the movie more than the opera. 

Overall it was a great production and one that I would see again. 

Photo from the San Francisco Opera web site.

© Fred Searcy 2017