Two notable firsts took place at New York’s Metropolitan Opera last night: Italian conductor Riccardo Muti made his Met debut, and he was conducting Giuseppe Verdi’s Attila from our forthcoming critical edition by Helen Greenwald. Muti specifically chose Attila for the occasion and worked from second proofs of our score; after the performances, he will give us his input which we will incorporate into the final volume, to be published later this year.
In conjunction with the premiere, the American Institute of Verdi Studies, based at New York University, is holding a symposium on Friday, Feb. 26, prior to the second performance on Saturday, the 27th. The speakers will include Greenwald, the volume editor; Philip Gossett, general editor of the series (and author of Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera; Francesco Izzo, editor of our forthcoming Verdi volume Un giorno di regno, David Lawton, editor of Macbeth and Il trovatore; and the moderator is Roberta Marvin, editor of the volumes I masnadieri and Hymns. Go here for more information on the program.
The verdict? The New York Times reports a mixed reaction at the premiere: cheers for Muti and the performers but boos for the production. They go so far as to say, “This Attila is an important musical milestone in Met history, but it’s perhaps best experienced with ears wide open and eyes shut.” In that case, you can hear the opera without seeing it when it is broadcast internationally on March 6.
And check back later this year for Greenwald’s edition of Attila.