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Verdi: Aida -- Royal Opera House [DVD]

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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.

Aïda is an opera of two very distinct halves, the first filled with anxious optimism, love, disappointment, victory, defeat, suffering, suspicion, reward and triumphant marches. It gives a director such as Carsen (and given the sheer number of bodies required to create the spectacle, the chorus director William Spaulding) much to work with, and much work to do, both from the perspective of actors’ performance and visual placement. Here, the overtly military focus has given rise to a set where palaces/bunkers are of concrete grey and costumes predominantly of camouflage green hues, both benefiting from dramatic red accents which are visually arresting, stunning (and thankfully devoid of the hideous gold trappings much favoured in such Middle Eastern locations). Ramfis ( Solomon Howard) who is ordinarily a High Priest, here appears as an intimidating senior military attaché whilst the rest of the junta wouldn’t have appeared out-of-place in Mubarak’s Egypt. When he presents the General with the icon which will lead Egypt to victory in battle, here it manifests as a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Tightly choreographed set pieces involve the enormous chorus and dancers who have been drilled into a marching/fighting machine equal to any found on an equivalent parade ground or battlefield. Aside from the assault rifle distribution scene, the 2 other notable unsung orchestral interludes give rise to an inspection of the guard by the king and the laying of the victory banquet table. Both are inspired choices and add considerably to the audience’s enjoyment — if only due to the excited nervousness which comes from anticipating whether every chorus member will have managed to reach his/her designated place by the last note. Sopranos Angela Caesar, Celeste Gattai, Kathryn Jenkin, Bernadette Lord, Alison Rayner, Anna Samant, Rosalind Waters, Vanessa Woodfine Actors Jamie Francis, Gregor Copeland, Rain De Rye Barrett, Chris Edgerley, David Galea, Jonathon Hands, Kyle Harrison-Pope, Jamal Lowe, Eduardo Nunez, Suleiman Suleiman There’s an enduring story that the premiere of Verdi’s Aida featured a dozen elephants in Act 2’s triumphal procession. Disappointingly that’s a myth, but there’s at least one of them still lurking in the room now whenever an opera company takes on the work, one that gets bigger and wrinklier with the years: how to stage today an “exotic” story of Egypt and Ethiopia, seen through 19th-century Italian eyes?

Schedule

Miriam Buether's set and Annemarie Woods’ costume designs emphasise the drab uniformity of a totalitarian state. Infatuation with the national flag is ever the hallmark of the shallow or insecure. Here, only the ubiquitous blue, red and white of the warmongers, plus their military regalia, punctuate shades of grey. Dancers Bradley Applewhaite, Eamonn Cox, Nolan Edwards, Cameron Everitt, Tristan Ghostkeeper, Martin Harding, Vincent Merouze, Chris Otim, Anthony Pereira, Dominic Rocca, Trevor Schoonraad

Breathing forests and village weddings energize the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen (22/11/2023) Love across the divide comes in the form of an illicit relationship between an Egyptian officer, Radames, and the daughter of his enemy’s leader, the Aida of the title. Radames is also pursued by his ruler’s daughter, whose hand he is offered in exchange for good service. With its glamorous Egyptian setting, complete with exotic animals in some spectacular productions, Verdi’s Aida has become a defining grand opera.Photography and filming are prohibited during performances in any of our auditoriums. You are welcome to take pictures throughout the rest of the building and before performances and share them with us through social media. Commercial photography and filming must be agreed in advance with our press team. We are delighted to share details of the brand-new Cinema Season from The Royal Opera House.The 2022-23 season will be the biggest season yet with 13 world-classproductions– seven operas and six ballets.

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