Verdi's Great Opera Aida to be Performed this Year in Cairo
This year's Cairo Opera Company Aida, like last year's, is produced by Abdallah Saad at the American University in Cairo: Ewart Hall.
According to al-Ahram Weekly, he has not altered it much this year, except make it more suitable for performance of Aida in Cairo, whether indoors or outdoors. This production is particularly faithful to Verdi’s original intentions, said the paper.
“Saad has a good eye, added the report, and the stage is used with great care with a variety of new visual pictures. He is a serious artist and he sees the nobility in Verdi's great arcs of sound. Whatever people say about the continued production of this opera, Saad appears to riposte: So what?,” said Al Aharm.
The attractive plot of the opera, in addition to the genius music makes the masterpiece of Aida.
Aida never had to work or relate to anyone she did not notice. She was a princess of Nubia, born at the top of a gold mine, but with a noble heart. The gray matter at the top, though, it has to be admitted, was always strictly limited.
This is what her father shouts at her in Act III of the opera. This scene is always exciting, no matter if it's your hundredth Aida. He demands Aida turns spy and deflect her boyfriend Rhadames, enemy of Nubia, from his high and mighty ways for the sake of her own land of Nubia.
According to the article, Aida will never go stale as an opera because of its characters, two powerful women in love with the same man. That one of these, Aida, is caught between two nations at war is a bonus. Anyway, her true father being Verdi, these characters are told in music of genius.
“From the opening act the characters have a life of their own, not realistic, not second hand, but operatically real to themselves. They are made to adopt a strange, slow motion gait, and they become dreams who move and walk at their own tempo with little to do with the living world.
One example from the first act: as the curtains part, well, it's Aida again, so she is somehow or other the most important character in the work, and here she is.
From Aida's special leitmotif, Verdi deliberately builds this music very carefully into a powerful little symphony. Slowly, majestically, Aida follows her destiny. She walks alone on this isolated path, a glamorous, tall person in a really gorgeous red robe. It's a wonderful moment, her first appearance, quite unforgettable because her character develops with emotions quite unlike those by whom she is surrounded.”
“Aida, therefore, is more like a Passion play for once. We will never again be allowed to stay ‘Oh, Aida is such a drip, Snow White's sister.’ Here she is, in this production, a creature of space, height and nobility, a trapped royal being crushed by the destiny of two nations. All this shows Verdi's partiality to Leopardian pessimism. This Aida could be called Forza del Destino Number Two.
At the beginning of the opera, Rhadames is powerful, not a bleating tenor in a cramped outfit, but really handsome, tall and virile, with a beautiful voice which opens out into a proper tenor robust, ringing golden and loud. And he's under 30. He is Nicola Rossi Giordano, to be seen and heard.
Boyka Vassileva is another of Cairo's exciting, electric Amnerises. At first you feel - so she has a lovely voice, but what will happen in Act IV, the Passion of the Princess Amneris? She leaves us in no doubt when this moment comes. She too, like Aida, is noble. No screaming shrew, but a real woman, young, feeling and, in the end, heroic. She is no jealous, bitchy royal. She is able to see exactly what is wrong with the political set-up in her country, and her almost accidental part in it is the cause of the tragedy. At the end, in her Passion, she spits fire, finds the power, looks slim, lovely and, in black, piteous, but never to be dismissed. Her moans close the opera Aida.
Amonasro, Aida's father, in his anger, he does crack his daughter, insisting on the disastrous spy drama in which she becomes entangled; but at her despairing cry "O mia patria, quanto mi costi?", the shining moment of all soprano divas, he is sympathetic and enfolding to the daughter who is at destiny's mercy.
Aida had a triumph in her Nile aria, with a lovely nostalgic high C. All this part of the work - soft and high, carefully laundered by Verdi for his own particular Aida, Teresa Stolz - were negotiated with beauty and ease.” – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)