An engrossing operatic wartime drama of love and betrayal set in Ancient Egypt
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2 hours 45 minutes, 1 intermission 20 minutesLanguage
In Italian, subtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
June 2, 1994
An authentic Egyptian colour was given to the scenery by the renowned Egyptian painter Hafíz Abdel Farghali, who succeeded in expressing in a singular manner contemporary civilisation’s link to the legacy of the era of the Pharaohs.
Aida is one of the most feted works of the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Created for the inauguration of the Suez Canal, ever since its triumphant premiere in Cairo in 1871 the opera, depicting a romantic story of love and betrayal against the backdrop of a military conflict, has been a staple of the repertoire of opera houses all over the world.
The State opera Chorus and Orchestra
The opera, centred on the story of love between the Egyptian warrior Radames and Aida, the enslaved daughter of Amonasro, King of Ethiopia, enthrals audiences due to its spectacular scenery and crowd scenes, as well as intimate personal drama. Aida has to decide between being loyal to her country or dedicating herself to a man who is one of the oppressors of her nation. The dilemma of choosing between love and duty is also faced by Radames, who ultimately betrays his homeland because of Aida. Giuseppe Verdi based his opera on a brief scenario written by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette to commission from the Viceroy of Egypt, with the aim to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. Intrigued by the concept, the composer paid great attention to every detail of the work. He even travelled to Egypt so as to further his knowledge of the country and its culture. Back in Milan, Verdi had specially made for his opera “Aida trumpets”, modelled on Ancient Egyptian instruments, which he would employ in the “Triumphal March”, perhaps the most famous ensemble scene there is.
The current State Opera production, premiered in 1994, is the title longest performed in the present repertoire of the company and one of its most popular shows. It also met with a tremendous response during two State Opera Prague tours of Japan – in 2001, when the role of Radames was portrayed by the world-renowned tenor José Cura, and in 2005, when the celebrated singer Maria Guleghina performed with our company.
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