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Farmer, Cline, & Campbell

Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

Met in HD: Aida

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By Dr. Larry Stickler
 · December 14, 2012

Glorious music is integrated into the dramatic action of another love triangle, this time set in ancient Egypt during the age of the pharaohs. 

Part of the Met: Live in HD series, Aida will be shown at 12:55 pm, Saturday, December 15, in four movie theaters in West Virginia: Cinemark at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville; Great Escape in Nitro; Hollywood Stadium 12 in Granville/Morgantown; and Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg; as well as Cinemark Theater in Ashland, Kentucky.

Aida, the enslaved princess from Ethiopia, is caught in a love triangle with the Egyptian princess Amneris and the heroic captain Radames. Love and patriotic loyalty is in the center of the conflict.

From the orchestrated prelude to the dramatic closing scene, the music is emotional and captivating. In Act one Radames sings a beautiful romanza about his love for Aida (Celeste Aida).

Torn between her love for Radames, who will lead the Egytian army against Ethiopia, and her love for her native land and her father, the Ethiopian king, Aida sings Ritorna Vincitor.

In Act two the Egyptian army is victorious and returns with many Ethiopian captives, one of who is Amonasro, unrecognized as the king of Ethiopia and Aida's father. The triumphal scene is a grand spectacle indeed. In this production at the Metropolitan Opera horse-drawn carriages will lead the exuberabt conquering heroes and their captives in a procession into Thebes. Besides the major characters and the chorus, this scene will require supernumeraries (extras) to participate in the festivities. The Grand March played by the orchestra adds pomp and dignity to the drama and has become a popular melody even today, being used as one of the marches in some university commencement ceremonies.

Verdi chose Antonio Ghislanzoni to write the libretto (script) for Aida and carefully supervised the development of the musical drama. The libretto was based on Camille du Locle’s French version of a storyline by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.

Aida, a grand opera in four acts was premiered on Christmas Eve in 1871, at the Opera House in Cairo, Egypt. The Khedive of Egypt and his harem were part of the audience at the first performance. Aida was an instant success and soon made it way to major opera houses around the world.



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