Show artwork for Aida

Aida Aida

Composed by Giuseppe Verdi

Conducted by James Conlon

May 15 – June 5, 2021

Production New to Los Angeles

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Worth the wait: Aida returns with an all-star cast and sensational production

One of the grandest of all grand operas, Aida bursts the boundaries of the stage with extreme pageantry, outsized passions and thundering choruses. Verdi’s music boldly depicts the epic drama of nations at war, while capturing moments of exquisite intimacy for two lovers caught up in a romance they must conceal.

An "eye-catching and unforgettable" production by Francesca Zambello incorporates both Egyptian hieroglyphs and street art into a strikingly gorgeous world. Liudmyla Monastyrska (sensational in our 2017 Nabucco) returns as the beloved heroine Aida, a prisoner of war with an astonishing secret, with Ekaterina Semenchuk as her rival, a princess who holds all the cards in a dangerous game of hearts.

Tickets currently available when you buy as part of a 2020/21 package.

“Few productions have been as eye-catching and unforgettable as Zambello and RETNA’s.”

Bachtrack

Cast

Aida
Liudmyla Monastyrska
Radames
Gregory Kunde
Amneris
Ekaterina Semenchuk
Amonasro
Craig Colclough
Ramfis
Eric Owens
King
Kevin Short

Creative Team

Conductor
James Conlon
Director
Francesca Zambello
Artistic Design
RETNA
Scenery
Costumes
Anita Yavich
Original Lighting
Mark McCullough
Chorus Director
Grant Gershon
Choreography
Jessica Lang

Read the synopsis

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Synopsis

Act One
The opera takes place in ancient Egypt. Inside the royal palace in Memphis, the priest Ramfis informs Radames, the captain of the guards, that Ethiopian forces are preparing to attack; the goddess Isis has chosen a leader to command the Egyptian army. Radames hopes to be that man. His thoughts quickly turn to his beloved Aida, an Ethiopian woman who has been brought to Egypt as a slave after being captured during a previous battle. Amneris, the daughter of the king of Egypt, enters; she loves Radames, but suspects that Aida may be her rival for Radames’ heart.  A fanfare signals the arrival of the king, who announces that Radames has been chosen to lead the Egyptians into battle. The assembled company celebrates and then leaves to pray for the gods’ protection. Alone, Aida ponders her situation. She is torn between her loyalty to her native land and her love for Radames. She offers a solemn prayer, imploring the gods for understanding. Inside the temple, Ramfis calls on Radames to defend Egypt and the priests invoke divine protection.

Act Two
Amneris waits in her chambers for Radames’ return from battle, hoping that she will win his love. When Aida enters, Amneris tricks the slave into revealing her true feelings for Radames. Amneris then tells Aida that she too loves Radames. As fanfares herald the return of the victorious army, the gloating Amneris leaves Aida in despair. The army enters Thebes in triumph. Radames enters and the king offers him anything he desires. The Ethiopian captives are led in, including Aida’s father, Amonasro. Disguised as a common soldier, Amonasro signals Aida not to reveal his identity as king of Ethiopia. Ramfis and the other priests insist that the Ethiopian prisoners be put to death, but Radames chooses their release as his reward. The king consents under the condition that Aida and her father remain in Egypt. The king awards Amneris’ hand in marriage to the young victor as well, and Amneris exits triumphantly with Radames.

Act Three
Moonlight shimmers on the Nile as a hymn praising the goddess Isis is heard from her temple. Amneris comes to the temple to pray on the eve of her marriage to Radames, while Radames has arranged a clandestine meeting with Aida nearby. As Aida waits for him, she remembers her homeland, despairing that she will never see it again. Amonasro appears. He is mounting another offensive against the Egyptians and he needs Aida to get Radames to reveal the Egyptian army’s plans. Aida struggles between her duty to her people and her love for Radames. She reluctantly agrees to help her father. Amonasro hides when Radames arrives. Aida convinces him to flee with her rather than marry Amneris and, at the last moment, she gets him to reveal the path the Egyptian army will take. Amonasro appears, declaring that the Ethiopians will meet the Egyptians and destroy them. Father and daughter try to convince Radames to flee with them when they are discovered by Amneris and Ramfis, who are leaving the temple. When Amonasro tries to kill Amneris, Radames comes to her defense. Aida and Amonasro flee, and Radames surrenders as a traitor.

Act Four
The Ethiopians have been beaten again, and Amonasro has been killed during battle; Aida has disappeared. Amneris tries to find a way to save Radames, who is standing trial for treason. Still in love with him and knowing that he is not a traitor, she begs him to defend himself, but he is resigned to his fate. Only news that Aida is still alive brings him comfort. The priests sentence him to be buried alive. Amneris begs for clemency, but the priests are adamant. As the priests seal him inside a tomb, Radames’ thoughts turn to Aida. She emerges from the shadows, for she has anticipated his fate and chosen to join him in death. As Amneris prays for Radames in the temple, the entombed lovers bid the world farewell.

Production new to Los Angeles

Performed in Italian with English subtitles

A co-production of Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and Minnesota Opera

Running time approx: 3 hours, with one intermission

Artwork for Aida
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