Concert. In a concertante performance of Verdi's early bel canto opera, we meet the mighty Hun chieftain Attila.
Also this season we meet Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic art in the form of two performances of his Attila from 1846. Thus continue the concertante bel canto operas under the direction of principal guest conductor Giancarlo Andretta, who so successfully launched the last season with Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri.
Watch a video from the rehearsal.
Attila is an early Verdi opera written during the time he called his “galley years” and is wholly consistent with the form pattern of Bellini and Donizetti. In recent years it has come to be played with increasing frequency and has, as one of few operas, a bass in the title role, the mighty Hun chieftain Attila. This is yet another challenge for Anders Lorentzson after last season’s Philip II in Don Carlos. Friends of Italian harmony can also expect to get their fill when Francesca Patané returns as the vengeful Odabella, a dramatic coloratura soprano part, which is at least as demanding as Verdi’s Lady Macbeth, her most recent triumph in Göteborg. Odabella’s beloved Foresto is sung by the house leading tenor Tomas Lind.
Attila – who was he really?
A´ttila (Gothic, e.g. “the little father”; compare with Middle High German Etzel and Old Icelandic Atli), the King of the Huns from 434 to 453 AD. Along with his brother Bleda, he succeeded his uncle Rua at a time when the Huns reigned over an area from the Caspian Sea to the Rhine. During the reign of the brothers, the Hun Kingdom was further extended to incorporate a large number of Asian and Germanic tribes posing a constant threat to the Persian and East Roman empires. The Western Roman Empire had already ceded the province of Pannonia (present-day Hungary) to Rua; now the provinces of Illyria and Thrace were pillaged as well. Enormous sums were demanded from the Eastern Roman emperors each year as a peace tribute, and these were doubled by the new rulers. In 445 Bleda was murdered as part of a plot instigated by his brother, and Attila became the sole ruler. After a murder attempt by the Eastern Roman Empire Attila entered a temporary truce and turned his attention westward.
In 451 Attila entered Gaul at the head of an army which, according to the Gothic historian Jordanes, amounted to half a million men. The Visigoths, who had previously been under Hun influence, changed allegiance and joined the Franks, Burgundians, Alans and Italics under Aetius. Attila was defeated on the Catalaunian Plains (present-day Châlons-sur-Marne or Troyes in Champagne, France) and forced to retreat over the Rhine. The following year he attacked Italy but pulled back after a plea from Pope Leo I. Attila then prepared an invasion of the East Roman Empire but died of haemoptysis the night after his wedding with the Burgundian king’s daughter Ildiko.
After the death of Attila, the Hun kingdom was taken over by his sons. However, they did not manage to unite their subjects. The Hun reign fell shortly after, but the memory of Attila lived on for a long time as part of German folklore, and parts of Nibelungenlied and the Nordic Poetic Edda were inspired by the annihilation of the Burgundian kingdom by the Huns at the Rhine in 439 and the dramatic death of Attila.
Pontus Reimers Source: Nationalencyklopedin (The Swedish National Encyclopedia)