Thursday, June 14, 2012


San Francisco Opera, 06.12.2012 Intermission at Atilla at San Francisco Opera.Thanks to the Opera Tattler, I attended the opening of San Francisco Opera's Attila, a production I probably would have missed otherwise. The opera is heavy with themes of personal revenge & patriotism but, despite the title, is relatively bloodless. Attila himself is perhaps the least reprehensible character in the lot. Every scene turns into a chipper oom-pah-pah number, so the over-all impression is one of jolliness.

The sets are large. The 1st act takes place in the appropriate historical period, in a crumbling Roman amphitheater. However the set for act 2 includes a Medieval catapult & a crumbling 19th century opera house. Act 3 occurs in a crumbling movie theater, complete with a running film starring star Jack Palance as Attila the Hun.

Bass Ferruccio Furlanetto had a dark & weighty sound as Attila. He seemed to be encumbered in act 1 by his long coat. It even knocked over a chair by accident [But see 1st comment below]. Soprano Lucrecia Garcia was Odabella, & though she has a high-flying, muscular voice, she seemed to be having problems controlling it this evening & nearly missed a high note in her solo scene in act 1. Tenor Diego Torre as Foresto, her love interest, made a bright yet narrow sound. Bass Samuel Ramey was dignified in his cameo as the Pope, though he sang with a wide wobble. The children who accompanied him as altar boys lost their focus a bit, sometimes looking around or scratching their faces. My favorite singing was from baritone Quinn Kelsey, who sounded full, beaming & lyrical in his act 2 scenes.

Maestro Nicola Luisotti made the score sound consistently alive & vibrant, & the orchestra played avidly for him. The big choral scene in act 2 was an exciting climax. Immediately following the performance, Chorus Director Ian Robertson received the San Francisco Opera Medal from General Director David Gockley, in recognition of his 25 years with the company. I also witnessed the Opera Tattler receive compliments for upholding dress standards for patrons of the opera.

§ Attila
Giuseppe Verdi
San Francisco Opera

Conductor: Nicola Luisotti
Director: Gabriele Lavia

Attila: Ferruccio Furlanetto
Odabella: Lucrecia Garcia
Foresto: Diego Torre
Ezio: Quinn Kelsey
Uldino: Nathaniel Peake
Pope Leo I: Samuel Ramey

Tue 06/12/12 8:00pm
War Memorial Opera House


Civic Center said...

According to Charlie, one of the dozens of supers in the show, Attilla is meant to knock over the chair in anger. Too bad it looks like a boo-boo.

Axel Feldheim said...

Thanks for correcting my interpretation of the chair incident. Perhaps he should have picked it up and thrown it instead of swiping it. He is Attila the Hun, after all!

Patrick J. Vaz said...

It was nice of you not to mention that the man complimenting the Opera Tattler was himself shabby and disheveled.

Also: there may be a scene in which Attila is meant to knock the chair over, but there was an incident opening night when it was clearly unintentional and caused by long unwieldy robes rather than anger.

Axel Feldheim said...

Surely I saw no one who was "shabby & disheveled" at the opera that night. Anyway, I regularly show up at the Symphony wearing a hoodie, so I am in no position to make judgments about anyone's attire.