Attila
  • Giuseppe Verdi. Dramma lirico in a prologue and three acts. 1846.
  • Libretto by Temistocle Solera and Francesco Maria Piave, after the play Attila, König der Hunnen (Attila, King of the Huns) by Zacharias Werner.
  • First performance at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, on 17th March 1846.
CHARACTERS
Attila, King of the Huns bass
Ezio, a Roman general baritone
Odabella, daughter of the ruler of Aquileia soprano
Foresto, a knight of Aquileia tenor
Uldino, Breton slave of Attila tenor
Leone, an old Roman bass

Attila urges his warriors to sing a hymn of victory. Odabella, with her female fighters, praises the courage of Italian women. The Roman general Ezio offers Attila the Roman Empire, if he will leave Italy free, but Attila rejects the proposal. Elsewhere Foresto musters the soldiers in Aquileia that have survived Attila’s attack and wonders sadly about the fate of his beloved Odabella, now a captive. Odabella, meanwhile, plans to kill Attila, and is now joined by Foresto, who no longer doubts her fidelity. Foresto and Ezio join together against Attila, who announces his intention of marrying Odabella, but as the Romans and Italians attack the Huns, she stabs Attila to death.

Verdi’s Attila had clear contemporary political relevance, with the words of Ezio, Avrai tu l’universo, resta Italia a me (You shall have the universe, Italy remains mine), striking a particular resonance at the time, as nationalists sought Italian freedom and unity.