Breaking Down the Score: Attila with Maestro Enrique Mazzola

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Breaking Down the Score: Attila with Maestro Enrique Mazzola

Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola stars in an original, engaging, and delightful web series centered on the twelve musical numbers of Verdi’s Attila. In each episode, Maestro Mazzola shares a personal interpretation and reading of one of the pieces, offering unique insight into one of Verdi’s early masterpieces from a conductor at the height of his craft.

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Chapter One: Preludio

Chapter One: Preludio

In this number, Verdi avoids the thunderous opening common in Italian operas of the time, and instead begins the score quietly. The magical melody weaves a spell around the listener before building to reflect the power and confidence of the opera’s title character. Listen closely and you may even notice some familiar rhythms, reminiscent of one of Verdi’s biggest hits!

Chapter Two: Introduzione

Chapter Two: Introduzione

The curtain opens and a grand fanfare brings us right into the drama as the legendary warrior Attila arrives at a party of Huns. The soldiers exalt their King, praising his skills on the battlefield in this choral-heavy passage. Listen closely for the brief moment of silence just before the finale—a signature of Verdi's writing.

Chapter Three: Scena e cavatina di Odabella

Chapter Three: Scena e cavatina di Odabella

See how a recitative, aria, and cabaletta come together to form a scene as we are introduced to the opera’s heroine, Odabella. As the Hun’s victory celebration continues, a group of captured women are brought in, led by Odabella (daughter of the Lord of Aquileia). Proclaiming her unwavering loyalty to Italy, she impresses Attila with her courage and he, in turn, offers her one favor. She requests his sword, vowing to avenge her father’s death by killing Attila with his own weapon.

Chapter Four: Duetto Attila e Ezio

Chapter Four: Duetto Attila e Ezio

Verdi doesn’t waste time, bringing us right into the action as the Roman envoy Ezio meets with the conqueror Attila. The composer allows the bel canto lines to flow uninterrupted as one of the opera’s key phrases is introduced and tension heightens between the opposing leaders.

Chapter Five: Scena e Cavatina di Foresto

Chapter Five: Scena e Cavatina di Foresto

In this scene, a massive storm blows Foresto and a group of refugees from Aquila to the shores of Venice. In one of Maestro Mazzola’s favorite moments, the chorus—starting softly—thanks God for saving them, and builds, with the orchestra, to a fortissimo as the sun peeks over the horizon. In his first lines of the opera, Foresto worries about his fiance, Odabella, and promises to build a new city where his love and his people will be safe from Attila’s reach. With this message of hope, the Prologo comes to a close.

Chapter Six: Scena e Romanza Odabella

Chapter Six: Scena e Romanza Odabella

Act One begins with pure Italian Romanticism as Odabella looks to the moonlit sky and dreams of her late father and lost love, Foresto. Hear how five musicians set the scene for this magical bel canto moment and all the hope Verdi instills in a single trill.

Chapter Seven: Duetto

Chapter Seven: Duetto

In this scene, Foresto arrives in Attila’s camp and is stunned to find his fiance, Odabella, smiling in the moonlight. He questions her loyalty as they speak over one another without truly listening. Verdi illustrates this with a stunning cadenza sung by Foresto in a sad minor key, and Odabella in a bright major key. Our heroine finally breaks through, explaining her plan to kill Attila, and the reunited couple launch into an emotional cabaletta.

Chapter 8: Scena e Aria Attila

Chapter 8: Scena e Aria Attila

Attila wakes from a nightmare, his heart frozen by fear as he recounts being turned away from the gates of Rome by a ghostly old man. The melody (which is reminiscent of the Commendatore from Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI), is repeated four times before Attila shakes off the feeling of dread and decides to take action in a powerful cabaletta and massive finale.

Chapter Nine: Finale Primo

Chapter Nine: Finale Primo

Attila and his warriors are marching on Italy’s capital, when they are stopped by a procession of women and children led by the Bishop of Rome. Attila is terrified as the Bishop, Leo, speaks the same words as the ghost from his nightmare, telling him to turn back. The mighty conqueror is brought to his knees as Act I comes to a dramatic close.

Chapter Ten: Scena e Aria Ezio

Chapter Ten: Scena e Aria Ezio

Act II begins with the Roman General Ezio recalling the former glory of Rome with both disappointment and rage. He is invited to a banquet by Attila’s slaves, when he spots Foresto hidden amongst the group. Pulling Ezio aside, Foresto explains his plot to take down Attila, and the two enthusiastically join forces in a powerful cabaletta.

Chapter Twelve: Scena, Romanza, Terzetto, e Quartetto Finale Ultimo

Chapter Twelve: Scena, Romanza, Terzetto, e Quartetto Finale Ultimo

Giuseppe Verdi's Attila comes to a dramatic close in this epic finale. When our title character finds his reluctant fiancée Odabella, his prisoner Foresto, and the Roman General Ezio conspiring together, he immediately realizes that he has been betrayed. Roman soldiers arrive as Odabella takes her revenge, killing the mighty conqueror with his own sword.

Meet the artist

Attila Highlights in Concert: Explore More with Enrique Mazzola is generously sponsored by

Julie and Roger Baskes

Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar

Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar

Consider making a contribution to the For the Love of Lyric Fund to aid in our recovery from financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gifts made to the Fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the generous sponsors of this star-studded concert.

Photo: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux