A love triangle between Aida the Ethiopian slave girl, the King's daughter Amneris and Captain of the Guard, Radames. Set in the backdrop of ancient Egypt.

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(libretto)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Claire Rutter ...
Aida
Joseph Wolverton ...
Liuba Sokolova ...
Amneris
Stanislav Shvets ...
Ramfis
Ashley Holland ...
Amonasro
Andrew Greenan ...
The King
Catrin Aur ...
High Priestess
Jonathan Stoughton ...
Messenger
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andrew Greenwood ...
Himself - Conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ...
Themselves - Orchestra
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A love triangle between Aida the Ethiopian slave girl, the King's daughter Amneris and Captain of the Guard, Radames. Set in the backdrop of ancient Egypt.

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Drama | Musical

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Release Date:

9 March 2012 (UK)  »

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Trivia

Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Aida was first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on 24 December 1871, conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Back in 2000 another version of Aida (also known as Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida) is a musical with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang, and produced by Walt Disney Theatrical. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Now I know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall...
28 May 2012 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

I have see more Aidas than I have had hot dinners so I was not particularly looking forward to this one. Many of the Aidas that I have seen were, like this one, arena or amphitheatre productions with an emphasis on spectacle. This production comes from the redoubtable Raymond Gubbay, who has proved over a period of many years that it is possible to stage unsubsidised opera profitably simply by giving the audience what they want.

This production comes from the Royal Albert Hall and is staged at ground level so most of the audience are looking down on it. Vertical sets would spoil the view so director Stephen Medcalf sets it in a 19th century architectural dig. A Victorian lady archaeologist is on stage throughout the opera. We are supposed to believe that her digging has stirred up ancient spirits or maybe the whole thing is taking place in her imagination. This framing device seems unnecessary to me but it did not interfere with the action.

Presumably the singers are wired for sound to enable them to perform effectively to an audience of 6000 people. The microphones are not visible and I found the sound very effective from the vantage point of my living room sofa although I have no idea what it was like live. Claire Rutter is an excellent Aida, particularly when she is singing softly. She has to sing O Patria Mia lying on the ground in order to give a good view to the audience above her. There is a solid Radames from American tenor Joseph Wolverton. Best of all is the chocolaty mezzo of Liuba Sokolova as Amneris. An Amneris as sexy as this does tend to undermine the plot. You wonder why Ramades does not just marry her, become king of Egypt and and send Aida back to Ethiopia. Sokolva gets to bathe in a sunken bath set in a hole in the middle of the Albert Hall floor. Bizarrely, though, she does it fully clothed. The lead singers here are not the ones that feature in newspaper reviews of this production so I don't know whether we are seeing the A- or B-team. Also, the papers suggest that the action is surrounded by video screens. Mercifully we are spared this in the film version.

The main disappointment of this production is the lack of spectacle. The ballet and the Grand March seem to consist of supernumeraries bobbing up and down. Choreography, such as it is, consists mainly of Busby Berkley effects for the benefit of those looking down. If there were any professional dancers in the company it was not evident. The Egyptian king and his high priest are dressed like Christian bishops, except that they seem to have condoms stuck to their chins. The Egyptian priests are dressed as monks with hoodies. This probably facilitates quick costume changes and disguises the fact that they are not singing.

The most successful scene is the finale. It is quite a feat to bury someone alive in the Albert Hall. Medcalf achieves this by having Ramades and Aida sitting above their tomb, smiling beatifically. Maybe they are already dead. Unusually, Amneris appears below them to deliver her sad goodbye. Tears were jerked.


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