Opera Scotland

Attila 1972Teatro Massimo, Palermo

Read more about the opera Attila

The Festival 's guest company in 1972 was the Teatro Massimo from Palermo. The quality of the productions and performances was mixed, and the reception by the critics was on the whole cool. While orchestra and chorus were not of the first rank, there was still lots to enjoy from the singers. It was unfortunate that the Verdi, in particular, was hampered by ill-health on the part of two of its leading soloists. Three rareties from the Italian ottocento repertoire were presented. The Rossini was the first of his important Naples commissions, Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, revived in Palermo a few months before. The Verdi was Attila. It was also essential that this company should feature a work by a Sicilian composer. Bellini was the obvious candidate, represented by La straniera.

This Verdi staging opened the visit of the Sicilians to Edinburgh with a group of star singers. Attila had been staged by Sadler’s Wells in the early 60s, but not toured to Scotland, and the Bellini and Rossini were almost totally unknown even in London. The standards were variable.

Attila suffered from the fact that the sets had clearly been cut down to fit the King’s stage (not for nothing is the Palermo building called massimo), and the chorus had a tendency to stand around doing very little, in a way that was rarely seen with British companies. The staging was probably uninteresting even before those adjustments were made.

Rather more serious was the fact that two of the principals were noticeably out of voice. They perhaps found the switch from Palermo to Edinburgh had given them a chill. Bruno Prevedi did continue to sing – presumably tenors with Foresto in their repertoire were rare – but the sounds he made were unreliable and sometimes unpleasant, certainly nothing like the lovely voice that the listeners, primed by his recordings, were expecting to hear. Maragliano also had problems and missed the second performance. Unfortunately her cover was a bit rough and ready.

Two of the singers still made the performances well worth seeing. Ruggiero Raimondi had just made his recording of the opera, and was clearly the star attraction. However the surprise success was the then unknown baritone. Renato Bruson here made his British debut and sang the role of Ezio in a quite stirring fashion.

Performance Cast

Attila King of the Huns

Ruggiero Raimondi

Ezio a Roman general

Renato Bruson

Odabella daughter of the Lord of Aquileia

Luisa Maragliano (Aug 28; Sep 1)

Maria Parazzini (Aug 30)

Foresto a knight of Aquileia

Bruno Prevedi

Uldino Attila's Breton slave

Umberto Scala

Leone Pope Leo I

Franco Pugliese

Performance DatesAttila 1972

Map List

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

28 Aug, 19.30 30 Aug, 19.30 1 Sep, 19.30

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