CLASSIC RECORDINGS FROM ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT OPERA HOUSES
Riccardo Muti conducts a fine cast in the powerful and atmospheric 1991 production of Verdi’s ninth opera, whose story of the heroic tussle between Ezio, a Roman general, and Attila, the Nordic invader was written for the 1846 Teatro la Fenice season and premiered there to huge acclaim.
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
Samuel Ramey, Giorgio Zancanaro, Cheryl Studer, Kaludi Kaludov, Ernesto Gavazzi, Mario Luperi
Orchestra & Chorus of Teatro alla Scala / Riccardo Muti
Stage Director Jerome Savary
'Attila, another early work of dubious historical veracity, is a rough-and-tumble number opera that responds positively to the hammer-and-tongs approach of Jerome Savary’s 1991 production. Samuel Ramey made a speciality of the title role and he is inspired to give of his best, baring his vocal and chest muscles with much charisma. Cheryl Studer as Odabella offers vocal virtuosity to challenge Attila. Giorgio Zancanaro is a staunch…Ezio.'
International Record Review
‘…this is Muti producing an orchestral sound which is little short of inspirational: superb legato, perfect phrasing and musical scene-setting second to none. On-stage scene changes are accomplished so smoothly, musically and visually, that it is a delight to watch and listen. As it is to the cast. Here is a believable Attila: from raw powerhouse defiance in Vanitosi! ... che abbietti e dormenti to the emotive single line E tu pure, Odabella? Ramey is superb. His Act I cabaletta Oltre quell limite stops the performance for fully 40 seconds which applause he himself halts by continuing. Zancanaro as Ezio is the consummate actor… he sings forte as demanded – particularly in duets with Ramey, bass and baritone often overlapping in vocal range and always producing a glorious depth of sound.
Similar demands of power are made of Odabella, sung here by Cheryl Studer. She accomplishes her entrance high C leap easily and then has to descend in a coloratura run to the depths of B natural. Here is an Odabella who can be brilliantly savage in voice and acting and then at the start of Act I deliver a beautiful gentle sound with some stunning notes floated on high. Her acting is never less than first class and when in duet or ensemble there is admirable control not to overwhelm – many other sopranos please note.
Kaludov’s slightly sharp timbred tenor manages to convince in all facets: vocally certain throughout, balancing superbly with Studer and contrasting with both Ramey and Zancanaro. Gavazzi, as Uldino, has a smoother tenor sound. He performs this small part effectively particularly as a vocal foil to both Ramey and Kaludov.
This is a performance to savour visually. Stage movement is excellent. The costumes are stunning with gloriously subtle and muted colours for the Aquileian refugees contrasting with the dour colours of the costumes of the hermits. All is helped by some excellent camera work producing several ‘paintings’ on the screen.
The accompanying simple booklet gives a detailed synopsis with the Italian libretto. There is no translation but providing you can tolerate subtitles, they work effectively here. …this performance must be [a] strong candidate for the best production of [Attila]. It is patent that all those taking part enjoyed it: even the usually reserved and urbane smoothy Muti joins in the broad grinning at the final curtain – and with every justification.’
Music Web International
'If Attila is an example of lesser Verdi, somebody forgot to tell Riccardo Muti. He directs a superlative musical performance aided by a superb cast: Ramey as a swaggering devil-incarnate, Zancanaro in the role of an aggrieved Roman general, and a sword-wielding, revenge-minded Odabella from Cheryl Studer. This Attila is clearly the best production of the works under consideration here.'
La Scena Musicale
‘Spectacular and pacy, it fills the stage with barbarians, gives them good tunes to sing and places them in a busy world where every moment may bring a reversal of fortune. Moreover, the four leading characters are fired with passionate determination which in turn fires their magnificent voices. There is sure to be something to write home about after a good Attila. This is a La Scala performance fully worthy of the great house and its best traditions. …The singers match up to the challenge wonderfully well.’
CAT NO: OA LS3010 D
FORMAT: All Formats
REGIONS: All Regions
PICTURE FORMAT: 4:3
LENGTH: 118 MINS
SOUND: DOLBY STEREO
NO OF DISCS: 1