Aida, Opera by G. Verdi
The Teatro Costanzi (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma) invites you to enjoy one of the most widely performed operas in the world, and one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous: Aida.
This opera is in four acts, with Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. It is based on the story which the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette suggested to the French librettist and opera director Camille du Locle.
Verdi was commissioned to write Aida by the Khedive of Egypt, Ismail Pasha, who wanted an opera premier with an Egyptian theme for the inauguration of the Suez Canal, with the construction of the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo also a part of the celebrations. However, Aida had not been finished at the time of the canal’s inauguration (in November 1869), and so Rigoletto was performed instead. Aida was finally performed, to great success, on 24 December 1871 at the aforementioned opera house. After making some modifications, such as adding the famous soprano aria O patria mia, Verdi premiered what is now considered the definitive version of Aida – also to great success – at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 8 February 1872.
This is a magnificent opera (and is in fact considered to be a grand opera), which was premiered with great splendour. It is worth noting that Amneris’s crown was made of solid gold and Radames’s weapons were made of silver for this premier. With Aida, Verdi harnesses all his experience, revealing his bel canto origins as well as the grand opera style used in the two operas he had written immediately before (Don Carlos and Macbeth), and we can also appreciate his profound knowledge of theatre and of human psychology. Musically, particular highlights are the tenor aria Celeste Aida, forma divina, as well as the chorus Gloria all’Egitto.
The action unfolds in the Ancient Egyptian Empire and revolves around the Ethiopian princess Aida, who is taken prisoner and carried off to Egypt as a slave. Amneris, an Egyptian princess, is in love with Radames, Captain of the Egyptian army. But the latter falls in love with Aida, complicating everything…