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Originally published Friday, December 31, 2010 at 1:03 AM

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Attila the Hun invades Seattle Opera's 2011-12 season

Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins announced the 2011-12 season, which includes Verdi's "Attila"; George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess"; and Bizet's "Carmen."

Seattle Times arts writer

A newcomer is invading the Seattle Opera's 2011-12 season — and its name, aptly enough, is "Attila."

This early Verdi opera about Attila the Hun has long been overshadowed by the composer's more famous "Rigoletto," "La Traviata" and "Aida." But "Attila" has gained a little more attention lately.

The Metropolitan Opera staged it for the first time in 2010, and a new recording of it soon followed. Seattle Opera's production, coming in January 2012, will feature bass-baritone John Relyea in the title role and soprano Ana Lucrecia Garcia as his nemesis. Bernard Uzan directs; Carlo Montanaro conducts.

The rest of the season, while filled with more familiar fare, will not stint on "flamboyant and unforgettable emotions," Seattle Opera general director Speight Jenkins says.

First up, in July/August 2011, is George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess." While Seattle Opera has hosted touring productions in years past, this one originates here, with director Chris Alexander taking charge of its cast, chorus and staging. Gordon Hawkins appears in the title role, soprano Lisa Daltirus plays Bess and John DeMain conducts. Kabby Mitchell III, a former Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist who also teaches jazz dance, will make his Seattle Opera debut as choreographer.

Bizet's "Carmen" is the fall offering, with Uzan once again directing. Appearing for the first time with Seattle Opera are Pier Giorgio Morandi, leading the orchestra, and Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili in the title role.

Following "Attila," the 2012 offerings continue with Gluck's "Orphée et Eurydice," in February/March, and the season closer, Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," in May. Tenor William Burden and soprano Davinia Rodríguez play the title characters in the Gluck, with José Maria Condemi directing and Gary Thor Wedow conducting. Yannis Adoniou, in his Seattle Opera debut, provides the choreography.

Soprano Patricia Racette reprises the role she sang with the Metropolitan Opera when she appears as Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly." Tenor Stefano Secco plays the U.S. naval officer, Pinkerton, who breaks her heart. Peter Kazaras, artistic director of Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program, directs the production, while conductor Julian Kovatchev makes his first appearance with Seattle Opera.

In addition, the Young Artists Program joins forces with the University of Washington School of Music to present Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" at Meany Hall on the UW campus. Tickets are available as an add-on to 2011-2012 subscriptions.

For season tickets and more information, call 206-389-7676 or 800-426-1619, or go to www.seattleopera.org. Packages range in price from $213 to $3,533. Single-ticket sales for individual operas go on sale May 23, 2011.

Michael Upchurch: mupchurch@seattletimes.com

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