When we examine the score of I Shardana by Ennio Porrino, we easily understand what a central role this opera played in the artistic development of the composer. The first drafts of it date from 1934-35, but the work only debuted years later, on 21st March 1959, at the San Carlo theater in Naples, with it's title of I Shardana and Porrino himself conducting. The composer would die suddenly a few months later.
Porrino's drama mirrors a period in archaeology when Nuragic Sardinia was discussed even in non-specialist circles, with the island's bronze statuettes and megaliths recalling a primeval society at the origins of European civilization. Hutalabì, indeed, is the ancient war cry of Sardinian horsemen, and the opera speaks of times when as Porrino species in the score shepherds were warriors and judges, "when man did not believe in one God but in the power of the stars, and worshiped the dead and the waters". I Shardana, therefore, is set in a free Sardinia, an island where rigorous rules are in force and its people do not tolerate invasions or spiritual contamination.