Benjamin Lumley - 14 March, 1848

from Reminiscences of the Opera, pages 214-5:

But the chief attraction of the ante-Easter season was reserved for the "Attila " of Verdi, the opera in which I had first heard and been charmed with the rich voice and dramatic qualities of Sophie Cruvelli, at Padua. This was, in fact, the opera in which she first appeared upon any stage. None, perhaps, of Verdi's works had kindled more enthusiasm in Italy, or crowned the fortunate composer with more abundant laurels than his "Attila." Its fame was great in the native land of the composer. In catering for novelty, therefore, the Director of Her Majesty's Theatre must be held to have done well in producing a work of so great repute, and in placing before his subscribers the leading opera of the day upon the Italian stage. To prove with what good will this was done, the opera had been "mounted" with great scenic splendour, and with every "appliance" likely to produce effect. "Attila " was produced on Tuesday, the 14th of March. Cruvelli sang "con fuoco." Her fine fresh ringing voice "told." Beletti displayed unusual histrionic talent, besides all that steadiness and excellence of "school," which helped to earn him his reputation in this country. Gardoni was in the "cast”' whilst Cuzzani accepted a second tenor part. On every side were zeal, talent, and good-will employed successfully to execute a work which many cities of Italy had pronounced to be Verdi's masterpiece. But although Verdi had already commenced to make his way to English favour — and this by means of that vigour and dramatic fire which unquestionably belonged to him — the public displayed an unwonted unanimity of sulkiness upon the production of "Attila." They would have "none of it." Consequently "Attila" proved a failure. Music and libretto displeased alike.

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Benjamin Lumley, Reminiscences of the Opera (London, 1864), p. 214-5. accessed: 20 July, 2024


Benjamin Lumley
Opera manager, Solicitor

Listening to

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written by Giuseppe Verdi
performed by Giovanni Beletti, Signor Cuzzani, Sophie Cruvelli, Italo Gardoni

Experience Information

Date/Time 14 March, 1848
Medium live
Listening Environment in the company of others, indoors, in public

Originally submitted by sp327 on Wed, 05 Aug 2015 09:36:51 +0100
Approved on Wed, 20 Apr 2016 13:47:41 +0100