Aïda

The dramatic charge of the story of the Egyptian Princess Aida and the warrior Radames grows out of the inner torment of a woman who 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 bet...

The dramatic charge of the story of the Egyptian Princess Aida and the warrior Radames grows out of the inner torment of a woman who 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.

Verdi's passion-fuelled Egyptian opera was commissioned by Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, and first performed in Cairo at the Khedivial Opera House in 1871. But, as no member of the general public attended, Verdi always thought of the first performance in Milan as the real premiere. Aida is an Ethiopian princess, captured by the Egyptians and enslaved to the Pharoah. The young commander Radamès falls in love with her, rejecting the advances of even the Pharoah's daughter, Amneris. But Radamès is sent to fight in the war with the Ethiopians, tearing Aida's heart between love for her father and her country, and her love for Radamès. When Aida and Radamès are caught trying to flee together to the desert, Radamès is condemned to death. He accepts his horrendous fate - to be buried alive - only hoping that Aida has escaped to her own country. But, sealed in the tomb from which he will never emerge, he finds Aida, who has sworn to share his fate so they may walk together into the afterlife.

 

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