San Francisco Opera streams Verdi’s ‘Attila’

Scene from San Francisco Opera’s production of ‘Attila’ © Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

In the second production of its Fall ‘Opera is ON’ season, San Francisco Opera streams a performance of Giuseppi Verdi’s Attila, recorded during a live performance in 2012, marking only the second occasion on which this opera was staged at the War Memorial Opera House.

The title role is sung by Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, with Venezuelan soprano Lucrecia García as Odabella. Hawaiian baritone Quinn Kelsey is Ezio, and Mexican tenor Diego Torre [] is Foresto.

Verdi’s Attila, with a libretto by Temistocle Solera and Francesco Maria Piave, is based on the play Attila, King of the Huns by Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias Werner. It tells the story of the power struggle between Attila the Hun and the Roman general Ezio for the control of Italy, and the revenge on Attila by one of his prisoners, Odabella, for the death of her father when Attila conquered the Italian city of Aquileia. Verdi set his opera in mid-5th century Rome, but – according to NPR – it would appear that it is in fact a reflection the 19th-century push for Italian independence from Austria. Verdi was one of the leading advocates of the Risorgimento (Resurgence) movement, who became something of a national hero due to his patriotic operas Attila, Nabucco and I Lombardi. Attila premiered on March 17th, 1846, at La Fenice Opera House in Venice.

Ferruccio Furlanetto regularly appears for companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro Real, Madrid, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opéra, Bolshoi Theatre and Mariinsky Theatre. He is also a concert artist and recitalist, having sung Verdi’s Requiem on a number of occasions worldwide, including at the BBC Proms, and following a recital of Russian songs by Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky in Melbourne, ArtsHub described his voice being like “that of an ancient mountain god: deep, resonant and powerful”.

Venezuelan soprano Lucrecia García “made a superb company debut as Odabella”, wrote the San Francisco Chronicle, “in a performance marked by clarion, precise high notes, lustrous chest tones and striking flexibility in the role’s demanding passagework”. Ms Garcia has more recently appeared in Nabucco, Macbeth and Il Trovatore at La Scala, Un Ballo in Maschera in Frankfurt, Attila at the Theater an der Wien, Nabucco and Aida at the Arena in Verona, and Aida at the Opéra Bastille in Paris and also at the San Carlo Theater in Naples.

Quinn Kelsey, a graduate of San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program, is particularly noted for his performances in Verdi operas, and was described by La Scena Musicale as “an authentic Verdi baritone – a rare breed”. He has appeared on the stages of some of the major opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera, Opéra Bastille, Semperoper Dresden, Rome Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin, and performed in the Metropolitan Opera’s New Year’s Eve Gala with soprano Anna Netrebko at the end of last year.

Mexican tenor Diego Torre has appeared in his signature role of Cavaradossi in Tosca in the United States, Australia, Mexico, Finland, Germany, Italy and China. In 2017 he became one of the few operatic tenors to have performed the roles of Turiddù in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci, in the same evening – for Opera Australia and more recently at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova. Since then, he has appeared at the Grand-Théâtre de Genève, the Teatro Regio di Torino, Sydney Opera House and Teatro de Oviedo in Spain.

This San Francisco Opera production of Attila was staged by Italian actor, film director and director Gabriele Lavia. There’s an interesting discussion on this production between Mr Lavia and former Music Director of SF Opera, Nicola Luisotti in the Company program notes.

Scene from Verdi’s ‘Attila’ © Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

The sets are by Alessandro Camera, known for his designs for opera, drama and cinema productions. Costumes are by theatrical, film and operatic designer Andrea Viotti, and lighting by Christopher Maravich.

This co-production between San Francisco Opera and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala is led by Nicola Luisotti who conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus (director Ian Robertson). The opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles and is available to view at from 10.00 am PT on October 17th until 11.59 pm PT on October 18th.

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