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Aida

The high drama and ancient ritual of Verdi’s opera are powerfully conveyed in David McVicar’s production.

Introduction

Aida, an Ethiopian princess, has been enslaved by the Egyptians. When she falls in love with Radames, Captain of the Egyptian Guard, she must choose between her heart and loyalty to her homeland.

Background

A transcendent love story is set against a backdrop of brutal warfare in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. The opera is based on a scenario written by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette and had its premiere at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo in 1871. Aida has become one of the most popular operas in the repertory, with its combination of glorious music and a gripping story.

The striking designs of David McVicar’s 2010 production evoke a strange and barbaric culture, characterized by violence and ritual sacrifice. An enormous cast is assembled to give full weight to the famous Triumphal March, as Radames returns with the victorious Egyptian army following their battle with the Ethiopians. Other musical highlights include ‘Celeste Aida’, in which Radames dreams of military triumph and of winning his love Aida; Aida’s aria ‘Ritorna Vincitor’, in which she describes her conflicting love for her father and for Radames; and the ecstatic ‘O Terra Addio’, as the lovers confront their final fate.