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Giuseppe Verdi 1813—1901

Opera lirica in 4 acts
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni based on Auguste Mariette
World premiere December 24  1871, Opera House, Cairo

This production opened December 3 2023
Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles

Introductory talks (in German) begin in the Holzfoyer 30 mins before curtain up
Please note: very noisy aircraft and bombs can be heard, in darkness, between acts 1 & 2

Conductor Julia Jones
Aida Roberta Mantegna
Radamès Viktor Antipenko / Stefano La Colla
Amneris Silvia Beltrami
Ramfis Andreas Bauer Kanabas
Amonasro Iain MacNeil / Nicholas Brownlee
King of Egypt Simon Lim
Messenger Kudaibergen Abildin
Priestess Idil Kutay° / Julia Stuart°

°Member of the Opera Studio

Egypt’s at war with Ethiopia. The shaky Egyptian regime threatens to collapse and the elite have barricaded themselves into a luxuriously equipped bunker, where they try and deaden their fear of doom and force Ethiopian slaves to play perfidious games. One of the prisoners is the Ethiopian King’s daughter: Aida. It hasn’t escaped Princess Amneris’ notice that Aida and the young Egyptian Radamès are in love. She also had her eye on Radamès, so their relationship’s a thorn in her side. Suddenly, at the High Priest Ramfis’ behest, Radamès is to go into battle commanding the Egyptians against the Ethiopians. Divine providence has, supposedly, ordained it so. Almost simultaneously Ramfis is haunted by terrible pangs of guilt: How many young men have already died in this war? Act II The Egyptian army returns victorious with more prisoners as their spoils, including Aida’s father, the Ethiopian King Amonasro. Radamès is to be given Amneris’ hand in marriage to reward his military success. INTERVAL Amonasro coerces Aida into finding out about Egyptian secrets from Radamès. The plan works: She elicits the desired information from her lover, in Amonasro’s hearing. Amneris finds them: Radamès is arrested, for treason; Aida and Amonasro manage to escape. Act IV Amneris regrets her intrigues and attempts, in vain, to save Radamès from death. But, seeing no point in living without Aida, he surrenders to his punishment without a fight: He’s to be walled up alive. Aida follows him to the world hereafter.

Egypt’s at war with Ethiopia. Theocratic structures rule, the King’s under High Priest Ramfis’ thumb. The Ethiopian Princess Aida's enslaved to the King’s daughter Amneris. Both are in love with a young Egyptian, Radamès, who returns Aida’s feelings. Now he’s been chosen to lead the army against his beloved’s people … Verdi's Aida depicts people, faced with conflict-laden relationships, trying to achieve their own ends but being manipulated before falling foul of pitiless structures of dominion.

The timeless central questions in the opera come to a head in Lydia Steier’s reading of the work in one to one conflicts and imposing chorus scenes. Unbelievably moving and intense is Amneris’ final prayer for peace, set alongside the unforgiving Priest’s chorus, while Aida and Radamès share one last moment of happiness before taking their leave from the world in »O terra, addio«.