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Aida IT - 1871 3*
Giuseppe Verdi 1813 - 1901 IT 3*
Grand opéra : Large-scale casts, orchestras and spectacular staging, often based on historical themes.
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni
First performance at Khedivial Opera House, Cairo on 24 December 1871
Synopsis - Roles - Arias
Italian libretto - English translation - French translation - German translation - Spanish translation - Hungarian translation
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Synopsis - Top
Act 1
Scene 1: A hall in the King's palace
Ramfis, the high priest of Egypt tells Radames, the young warrior, that war with the Ethiopians seems inevitable, and Radames expresses the hope that he be chosen as the Egyptian commander.
Radames dreams both of gaining victory on the battle field and of Aida, the Ethiopian slave, with whom he is secretly in love. Aida, who is also secretly in love with Radames, is the captured daughter of the Ethiopian King Amonasro, but her Egyptian captors are unaware of her true identity. Her father has invaded Egypt to deliver her from servitude. Amneris, the daughter of the Egyptian King enters the hall. She too loves Radames, but fears that his heart belongs to somebody else. Then Aida appears and, when Radames sees her, Amneris notices that he looks disturbed. She suspects that Aida could be her rival, but she is able to hide her jealousy and approaches her.
The King enters, along with the High Priest, Ramfis, and the whole palace court. A messenger announces that the Ethiopians, led by King Amonasro, are marching towards Thebes. The King declares war and also proclaims Radames to be the man chosen by the goddess Isis as leader of the army. Upon receiving the mandate from the King, Radames proceeds to the temple of Vulcan to take up the sacred arms.
Alone in the hall, Aida is torn between her love for her father, her country, and Radames.

Scene 2: Inside the Temple of Vulcan
Solemn ceremonies and dances by the priestesses take place followed by the installation of Radames to the office of commander-in-chief. All present in the temple pray for the victory of Egypt and protection for their warriors.

Act 2
Scene 1: The chamber of Amneris
Dances and music to celebrate Radames' victory take place. However, Amneris is still in doubt about Radames' love and wonders whether Aida is in love with the young warrior. She tries to forget her doubt, entertaining her worried heart with the dance of Moorish slaves.
When Aida enters the chamber, Amneris asks everyone to leave. By falsely telling Aida that Radames has died in the battle, she tricks her into professing her love for him. In grief, and shocked by the news, Aida confesses that her heart belongs to Radames eternally.
This confession fires Amneris with rage, and she plans on taking revenge on Aida. Ignoring Aida's pleadings, Amneris leaves her alone in the chamber.

Scene 2: The grand gate of the city of Thebes
Radames returns victorious and the troops march into the city. The Egyptian king decrees that on this day the triumphant Radames may have anything he wishes. The Ethiopian captives are rounded up and Amonasro appears among them. Aida immediately rushes to her father, but their true identities are still unknown to the Egyptians. Amonasro declares that the Ethiopian king (he himself) has been slain in battle. Aida, Amonasro and the captured Ethiopians plead with the Egyptian King for mercy, but the Egyptians call for their death.
As his reward from the King, Radames pleads with him to spare the lives of the prisoners and to set them free. Gratefully, the King of Egypt declares Radames to be his successor and to be his daughter's betrothed. Aida and Amonasro remain as hostages to ensure that the Ethiopians do not avenge their defeat.

Act 3
On the banks of the Nile, near the Temple of Isis
Prayers are said on the eve of Amneris and Radames' wedding in the Temple of Isis. Outside, Aida waits to meet with Radames as they had planned.
Amonasro appears and forces Aida to agree to find out the location of the Egyptian army from Radames. When he arrives, Amonasro hides behind a rock and listens to their conversation.
Radames affirms that Aida is the person he will marry, and Aida convinces him to flee to the desert with her.
In order to make their escape easier, Radames proposes that they use a safe route without any fear of discovery and he also reveals the location where his army has chosen to attack. Upon hearing this, Amonasro comes out of hiding and reveals his identity. Radames feels dishonored. At the same time Amneris and Ramfis leave the temple and, seeing Radames with their enemy, call the guards. Amonasro and Aida try to convince Radames to escape with them, but he refuses and surrenders to the imperial guards.

Act 4
Scene 1: A hall in the Temple of Justice.
Amneris desires to save Radames. She calls for the guard to bring him to her.
She asks Radames to deny the accusations, but Radames refuses. Certain that, as punishment, he will be condemned to death, Amneris implores him to defend himself, but Radames firmly refuses. He is relieved to know Aida is still alive and hopes she has reached her own country. His decision hurts Amneris.
Radames' trial takes place offstage; he does not reply to Ramfis' accusations and is condemned to death, while Amneris, who remains onstage, pleads with the priests to show him mercy. As he is sentenced to be buried alive, Amneris curses the priests while Radames is taken away.

Scene 2: The vault in the Temple of Vulcan
Radames has been taken into the lower floor of the temple and sealed up in a dark vault. Thinking that he is alone and hoping that Aida is in a safer place, he hears a sigh and then sees Aida. She has hidden herself in the vault in order to die with Radames. They accept their terrible fate and bid farewell to earth and its sorrows. Above the vault in the temple of Vulcan, Amneris weeps and prays to the goddess Isis. In the vault below, Aida dies in Radames' arms.
Roles - Top
AidaSopranoF-H Ethiopian princess
The King of EgyptBassM-VL
AmnerisMezzosopranoF-M Daughter of the King
RadamesTenorM-M Captain of the Guard
AmonasroBaritoneM-L King of Ethiopia
RamfisBassM-VL High Priest
Arias - Top
Act 1: Scn 1: Si, corre voce I'Etiope ardisca (Yes, it is rumored that Ethiopia dares once again to threaten our power)
Se quel guerrier io fossi... Celeste Aida (Heavenly Aida) 2*
Quale insolita giola nel tuo sguardo (In thy visage I trace)
Vieni, o diletta, appressati (In your looks I trace a joy unwanted)
Alta cagion v'aduna (Oh fate o'er Egypt looming)
Su! del Nilo al sacro lido (On! Of Nilus' sacred river, guard the shores)
Ritorna vincitor (Return a conqueror)
Scn 2: Possente Ftha...Tu che dal nulla (O mighty Ptha)
Immenso Ftha .. Mortal, diletto ai Numi (O mighty one, guard and protect!)
Scn 3: Nume, custode e vindice (Hear us, O guardian deity)
Act 2: Scn 1: Chi mai fra gli inni e i plausi (Our songs his glory praising)
Vieni: sul crin ti piovano (Come bind your flowing tresses)
Fu la sorte dell' armi a' tuoi funesta (The battle's outcome was cruel for your people...)
Su! del Nilo al sacro lido (Up! at the sacred shores of the Nile)
Scn 2: Gloria all'Egitto, ad Iside (Glory to Egypt, to Isis!)
Che veggo! .. Egli? .. Mio padre! .. Anch'io pugnai (What do I see?.. Is it he? My father?)
Gloria all Egitto (Triumphal March) 3*
Act 3: O tu che sei d'Osiride (O thou who to Osiris art...)
O patria mia (Oh, my dear country!)
Ciel, mio padre! .. Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate (Once again shalt thou gaze)
Pur ti riveggo, mio dolce Aida .. (I see you again, my sweet Aida!)
Act 4: Scn 1: L'aborrita rivale a me sfuggia (My hated rival has escaped me)
Gia i Sacerdoti adunasi (Already the priests are assembling)
Ahime! .. morir mi sento (Alas... I feel death)
Scn 2: La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse (The fatal stone now closes over me)
Morir! Si pura e bella (To die! So pure and lovely!)
Immenso Ftha (Almighty Ptha)
O terra, addio 1*