The Met audience makes itself heard. BRAVO IL PUBBLICO!!!!

Back to the 60s hair do for Urmana

Apparently (since I wasn’t there, but would loved to have been), last night’s premiere of “Attila” was met with “boo’s” as much as it was met with cheering.  The blogs and reviews are reporting that cheers for Muti were abundant, but that the opposite response was offered to the production director, Mr. Audi, and his team.  Muti obviously took control over the Met orchestra and led them in a positive direction, but it seems that the Met’s audience is not going to sit back and watch the modernization of an art that begs for authenticity.

Personally, I find it very concerning that the Met would present this rather historically important opera for the first time and set it in this manner, with little concern for the fact that Attila hinged on being a manifesto of sorts.  During Verdi’s period, especially in 1846 when it was premiered, the general climate in Italy was one that was encompassed by the drive for unification.  Italy had since been under Austrian power.  Therefore, the drive for unification had swallowed up all of Italy’s artistic forms, including opera.  Although there have been a plethora of scholastic arguments about whether or not Verdi was a political man (whether or not he was is of little interest, except for the role his operas may have played politically).  Some feel that Nabucco, for example, is a manifesto of Risorgimento Italy; an instructive to the “Italian, not Hebrew” audience, in its plight to become a free nation.

Attila is an opera that functions similarly.  It was also one of these “politically” based, if not outwardly, operas and so it would have been more historically accurate had the Met not presented a set that looked like something had blown up.  Subtlety is sometimes best and keeps the focus where it belongs, on the music and the singing.

Here are some reviews for last night’s “Attila.”

Can’t wait for the broadcast on March 6th!

Welcome double invasion at the Metropolitan Opera: Attila the Hun and Muti the Maestro (by Mike Silverman of the Associated Press

At the Met, a Hun who struggles to conquer his doubts (by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times)

Honey, I Shrunk the Met (by James Jordan of the New York Post)

Anne Midgette Reviews Verdi’s “Attila” from the MET (Washington Post)

Attila invade il Met (Il Giornale della Musica)

Review: “Attila” by David Finkle (Theatermania)

Also, for you scholastic types, on February 26, 2010, some of the top opera scholars in North America will be holding a symposium to discuss “Attila.”  Here is information on the topics.

CONF: Verdi’s Attila at the Met: A Symposium
February 26, 2010, 5:30pm
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’
24 West 12th Street, New York City
* Free Admission *

This month Riccardo Muti makes his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila in a new critical edition prepared by Helen M. Greenwald (forthcoming in the Works of Giuseppe Verdi published by Ricordi and the University of Chicago Press).
The American Institute of Verdi Studies celebrates the occasion with a symposium devoted to this exciting opera from Verdi’s early period. Four distinguished Verdi scholars discuss the libretto of Attila, Verdi’s creative process, and issues of performance practice and musical style. The symposium consists of four brief papers followed by a round table discussion, and is enriched by numerous musical examples.
Francesco Izzo (University of Southampton and American Institute for Verdi Studies),
“Solera, Piave, and the Final Scene of Attila”
Philip Gossett (University of Chicago and University of Rome “La Sapienza”),
“Verdi’s Skeleton Scores and Attila”
Helen M. Greenwald (New England Conservatory),
“Pictorial Music in Attila”
David Lawton (Stony Brook University),
“Verdi in Rehearsal”
Moderator: Roberta Montemorra Marvin (University of Iowa)
For more information, please call (212) 998-8730 or e-mail at

The New York Times Reviews: Aprile Millo’s 25th Anniversary Recital

Strauss, Neapolitan Songs, and a Singsong by Vivian Schweitzer