|Ildar Abdrazakov as Attila (left)|
The opera is based on the play Attila, King of the Huns by Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias Werner, and it premiered on March 17, 1846 at the La Fenice in Venice. It is is the ninth of the Verdi's 28 operas, following Ernani and preceding Macbeth.
In 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven conceived the idea of writing an opera about Attila and approached August von Kotzebue to write the libretto. Obviously, it was never written, as Fidelio was his only full opera.
Ildar Abdrazakov and Quinn Kelsey sing the Attila/Ezio duet:
Verdi's opera is set in mid-5th century Rome and tells the story of Attila the Hun and his eventual downfall.
The opera includes a number of popular pieces for both baritones and basses, including Ezio's cabaletta "È gettata la mia sorte," which roused the Italian people around the the adoption of a liberal constitution by Ferdinand II. Atilla's best known aria is "Mentre gonfiarsi l'anima parea," where he awakes and tells Uldino of a dream in which an old man stopped him at the gates of Rome and warned him to turn back. The aria was made famous in recent times by the great American bass Samuel Ramey. The opera's prologue also includes one of the great duets for two low male voices, "Tardo per gli anni," where Ezio offers Attila the entire Roman empire if Italy can be left unharmed.
The opera opens on December 7th and additional information can be found online.