Press release

Verdi’s »Attila« to be performed for the first time in Dresden

Porträt Jordi Bernàcer

Dresden, 18 January 2023. Although often overshadowed by his later masterpieces, Verdi’s opera »Atilla« nonetheless became a highly popular work following its premiere in 1846. Now this dramma lirico about the victorious King of the Huns will premiere with a star-studded cast at a concert performance in the Semperoper on Saturday, 4 February 2023.

Under the baton of Spain’s Jordi Bernàcer, who already impressively demonstrated his mastery of Verdi with »Nabucco« in the 2018/19 Dresden opera season, Georg Zeppenfeld will make his role debut in the title role, joined by Tomislav Mužek as Foresto and Tilmann Rönnebeck as the elderly Roman Leone. Also on stage will be Anna Smirnova as the vengeful Odabella, Andrzej Dobber as the Roman general Ezio and Timothy Oliver as Attila’s slave, Uldino.

The opera is based on Zacharias Werner’s romantic tragedy »Attila, König der Hunnen« (Attila, King of the Huns) from 1808, a spirited work that Beethoven also considered setting. Almost forty years later, Giuseppe Verdi created his music-theatrical version of this political and emo-tional drama set in the 4th century at the sunset of the Roman empire. Against its historical backdrop of the Roman-Hunian struggle for European supremacy, »Atilla« fascinates with its vividly drawn characters, portrayed as neither good nor evil, and for whom the score places highly virtuosic demands of the voice.

From the very beginning of the opera, Odabella’s entrance aria sets the mood for the ensuing dramatic events and intense emotions. The historical events are powerfully brought to life by the composer. Particularly impressive are the juxtaposed choral passages of the Huns and the Ro-mans, whose emotional range runs from heroism to humility, an approach prefigured in Verdi’s masterpiece »Nabucco«, which premiered just a few years earlier.

Artistic Director Peter Theiler has repeatedly programmed Verdi’s »Atilla« throughout his ca-reer. Now he is delighted to be able to present this work to Dresden audiences for the first time at a concert performance in the Semperoper. Jordi Bernàcer will conduct both the Staatskapelle Dresden and an outstanding ensemble led by Georg Zeppenfeld as Attila.

»Attila« by Giuseppe Verdi
Concert performance

With Georg Zeppenfeld, Andrzej Dobber, Anna Smirnova, Tomislav Mužek, Timothy Oliver and Tilmann Rönnebeck. 
The Staatskapelle Dresden will be conducted by Jordi Bernàcer. Also on stage: the Saxon State Opera Chorus.

Premiere at 7 p.m. on Saturday, 4 February 2023.
Additional performances on 7 and 11 February 2023 (also at 7 p.m.).

Tickets for all performances can be purchased online or from the box office in the Schinkelwache on Theaterplatz (T +49 351 4911 705).

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Photo: Conductor Jordi Bernàcer © Lucio Abad