Spectacular Opera “Aida” Opens

2 mins read

Met Series at USCB Center for the Arts

By Alan Schuster 

If it wasn’t for the Suez Canal, it’s likely that Giuseppe Verdi’s magnificent grand opera “Aida” would never have been composed. As the canal was nearing completion in 1869, he was asked by the Egyptian government to write a hymn to celebrate its ceremonial opening. Even though he had no time to do so, he found interest and inspiration in the location and decided to make it an opera instead. Its premiere was staged at the Cairo Opera House in December 1871, almost two years after the canal was opened. Today, “Aida” is perceived to be the grandest of all grand operas.   

Local opera fans will be able to see for themselves when “Aida” is broadcast in high definition at 1 p.m. on Oct. 6 to open the 2018 Met Series at USCB’s Center for the Arts.  

“The pomp and circumstance of ‘Aida’ is unmatched in all of opera,” said noted opera historian Denis Forman. “Terrific spectacle, rousing choruses, pathos, passion and a basket full of good tunes.”   

Fellow opera historian Charles Osborne added that, “In purely musical terms, it is nothing less than a miracle of melodic beauty and imaginative orchestration. Both in its spectacular and intimate aspects, ‘Aida’ is a triumph of the creative imagination.”   

Cast in the title role for this live Met performance will be one of the world’s most acclaimed sopranos, Anna Netrebko. She will be joined by mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as her formidable rival Amneris. Alexandrs Antonenko is the warrior Rhadames, and Nicola Luisotto conducts.   

The Cairo performances were enthusiastically received. Two years later at the La Scala in Milan, the first performance was under the direction of Verdi himself, who was recalled 32 times by the audience. Still today, this is a show that is not to be missed.    

Tickets are now available. All seats are general admission. Adults $20; OLLI members $18; Students $10. Order on-line at www.centerforthearts or call 843-521-4145.

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