Giuseppe Verdi 1813–1901
Opera lirica in 4 acts
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni based on Auguste Mariette
First performed December 24 1871, Opera House, Cairo
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) in the Holzfoyer 30 minutes before performances begin
There's a chamber music concert on December 17 inspired by this work
Radames is to lead the Egypians into war against the Ethopians. He is loved by the Egyptian princess Amneris and Ethiopian slave Aida …
Verdi’s Oper Aida was written for Egypt – then part of the Ottoman Empire - belatedly fulfilling Viceroy Ismail Pascha’s dream. He modernised the region at a time of growing aspirations for autonomy, had an opera house built modelled on a French theatre and oversaw the achievement of the century, the Suez Canal. He wanted to commission a work – ideally an opera – by Giuseppe Verdi - to celebrate it’s completion, but the composer turned the offer down. The Viceroy didn’t give up, even after the canal and opera house opened in 1869. The French author and archeologist Auguste Mariette’s scenario eventually managed to change the composer's mind.
Aida lives a dream in Verdi’s conjured up exotic-oriental sound world which was omnipresent in the 19th century, led to catastrophe in the 20th and is alarmingly growing again, of national ascendancy. Strictly contrapuntal music reflects the rigid theocratic structures of the society evoked, while the emotional lives of the characters unfold in intimate scenes. Lydia Steier develops her ideas for the work she staged for Theater Heidelberg further, getting to the nitty-gritty of the mechanisms of power, the characters' anxieties, the impossibility of their relationships and losing out to political systems.
With generous support from