Oddly, the characters as they emerged in this production revealed Attila as a decent, if autocratic, chap whilst the Italian men continually break promises and are plagued by irrational jealousy.
Which leaves Odabella as the straightforward heroine of the shining hour. Made to hit her big Verdian straps from the moment she opens her mouth, Natalie Aroyan, in her role debut, embraced the part in its totality and aroused the normally polite Sydney audience to Italianate heights of whistling and cheering. Could this have been partly a coronavirus consequence? For there was undoubtedly an acknowledgement that attendance at such a large gathering in mid-March 2020 was a) daring and b) potentially the last for a while.
Certainly, though, the enthusiasm for this youthful product of Opera Australia's development system was justified. Could there have been a slight fading of her vocal power towards the end? Not en route, as Aroyan managed the difficult balance between the three men in her life – the peremptory Attila (Taras Berezhansky) who assumes the right to take her in marriage, the ever-jealous Foresto (Diego Torre) who assumes the worst of her, and her dead father, killed by Attila himself on his black horse in D-wok's filmed backdrop, whom she mourns in a glorious, cor anglais accompanied solo. In duet with the quietly passionate tenor, Torre, distant thoughts of Dame Joan and the Pav were conjured.