Director of Opera
Generous philanthropic support from Julia and Hans Rausing, Lord and Lady Laidlaw, Sir Mick and Lady Barbara Davis, Charles Holloway, Melinda and Donald Quintin, the Patrons of Covent Garden, the American Friends of Covent Garden, the Aida Production Syndicate and an anonymous donor
This production contains themes of war and gun violence
Sadly, due to a family illness, Angel Blue is unable to perform the role of Aida on 23, 27 May and 1 June. She will be replaced by Christina Nilsson.
Actors Jamie Francis, Gregor Copeland, Rain De Rye Barrett, Chris Edgerley, David Galea, Jonathon Hands, Kyle Harrison-Pope, Jamal Lowe, Eduardo Nunez, Suleiman Suleiman
Dancers Bradley Applewhaite, Eamonn Cox, Nolan Edwards, Cameron Everitt, Tristan Ghostkeeper, Martin Harding, Vincent Merouze, Chris Otim, Anthony Pereira, Dominic Rocca, Trevor Schoonraad
Sopranos Angela Caesar, Celeste Gattai, Kathryn Jenkin, Bernadette Lord, Alison Rayner, Anna Samant, Rosalind Waters, Vanessa Woodfine
Mezzo-Sopranos Maria Brown, Siobhain Gibson, Zoë Haydn, Maria Jones, Clare McCaldin, Hyacinth Nicholls, Dervla Ramsay, Jennifer Westwood
Tenors Edmond Choo, Phillip Bell, Simon Biazeck, Phillip Brown, Andrew Busher, Jonathan English, Darrell Forkin, Andrew Friedhoff, Paul Hopwood, Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks, Richard Monk, James Scarlett
Basses Donaldson Bell, James Birchall, Oscar Castellino, Gabriel Gottlieb, Mark Campbell-Griffiths, Gerard Delrez, Christopher Foster, Oliver Gibbs, Gavin Horsley, Chris Lackner, Russell Matthews, John Morgan, Darron Moore, Ronald Nairne, Martin Nelson, Simon Preece, James Quilligan, Mark Saberton, Miles Taylor, Philip Tebb, Jochem van Ast, Peter Willcock, Jonathan Wood
Egypt is at war with Ethiopia. Aida, daughter of the Ethiopian King Amonasro, has been captured and made prisoner. She now serves Amneris, the Egyptian King’s daughter, but Aida has concealed her true identity.
Ramfis, the High Priest, will soon name the new Commander of the Egyptian army. Radames, an army Captain, prays the choice will fall on him. He is in love with Aida, and hopes that if he leads Egypt to victory, he will not only be able to win Aida’s freedom, but also establish peace between their two countries. Amneris, the King of Egypt’s daughter, is also in love with Radames. Victory in war would make him an eligible husband, but Amneris fears that her servant Aida might be her rival for Radames’ love. The King summons his soldiers as an army messenger bring news of the recent Ethiopian attacks led by Amonasro. Naming Radames as the new Egyptian Commander, the King, Ramfis and the soldiers cry out for war. Alone, Aida is torn by her conflicting emotions: Radames will lead the Egyptians to war against her father and homeland, yet she cannot help loving him. She prays to heaven to take pity on her. Radames is invested as Commander of the Egyptian army, and Ramfis and the Priests join him in praying for victory in the coming war.
The Egyptian army has again defeated the Ethiopian forces.Amneris eagerly awaits the return of Radames, while Aida mourns the defeat of her homeland. In order to discover whether Aida really is her rival, Amneris tells her that Radames has been killed in battle. Aida betrays her feelings with a cry of despair. Amneris reveals her deception, and swears to see Aida punished and humiliated. A military parade celebrates the victorious return of Radames and the Egyptian army. The King hails him as the nation’s saviour and swears to grant him any reward. When Radames summons the Ethiopian prisoners, Aida recognises her father, but Amonasro warns her not to betray his identity. Aida’s father tells the King of Egypt that Amonasro has died in battle, and pleads for the prisoners’ lives. The King hesitates as Radames names his reward: freedom for the Ethiopians. Furious, Ramfis demands that Aida and her father be kept as hostages. The King agrees, further decreeing that Radames is to marry Amneris and rule over Egypt after his death.
On the eve of her wedding, Amneris spends the night in prayer. Aida, waiting to meet Radames, recalls her lost homeland. Amonasro has discovered his daughter’s secret love and offers her freedom if she tricks Radames into revealing the Egyptian army’s strategic plans. Aida refuses, but relents after her father threatens to disown her. Amonasro hides as Radames arrives. Radames tells Aida he intends to demand the King to allow him to marry her and make peace between their nations. Aida insists that their only option is to flee from Amneris and from Egypt. Radames finally agrees, describing their route as the same one the Egyptian army will use against the Ethiopians. Amonasro emerges and triumphantly reveals his and Aida’s true identities. Radames is devastated by his inadvertent betrayal of his country. Amonasro urges him to escape with them, but Amneris suddenly appears. She has overheard everything and denounces Radames as a traitor. Amonasro flees with Aida, leaving Radames to surrender to Ramfis, who arrests him for treason.
Awaiting his trial, Amneris implores Radames to deny the charges against him. Radames, believing Aida to have been killed, says he longs for death. Amneris tells him that Amonasro has been killed, but that Aida has escaped. If Radames denies his love for Aida, she will save him. Radames refuses. Amneris, furious, leaves him to be tried and convicted. In front of the court, Radames refuses to answer Ramfis’ accusations. He is found guilty and sentenced to die by being entombed alive. Amneris, unable to persuade Ramfis to overturn the sentence, desperately curses her jealousy as well as those who sentenced Radames to death. As Radames is sealed into his tomb, a figure appears in the darkness. It is Aida, who has hidden there to die with him. Alone at last, with the voices of the Egyptians echoing above them, Radames and Aida wait for death to take them to a better world.
– Robert Carsen
Director of Opera
Director of Casting
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