Best known highlights from the famed Verdi's Opera Aida were staged by the Cairo Opera Company and the Cairo Opera Orchestra over two nights last weekend.
While highlighting the major plot developments, the audience was able to follow the famed love story between Ethiopian princess Aida and Egyptian hero Radames in the unique open-air setting of Al-Nafoura (Fountain) theatre.
It was the first time for the opera to be presented in an open-air location in Cairo on the Cairo Opera House grounds. Previous open-air stagings of the opera took place either in Luxor or at the Giza Pyramids or were closed within the opera's building.
In fact, the launching of Al-Nafoura theatre last year in response to the pandemic allowed many of the opera's events to benefit from the open-air setting.
The unique location breathed new air to Verdi's masterpiece, embellished by its grand production and taking the audience on a journey through the opera's events at the backdrop of the opera building.
The new setting proved highly successful in attracting a large audience to the event, which duly followed the harsh restrictions and seating limitations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directed by Hisham El-Tally, the opera featured well known Egyptian singers, all members of the Cairo Opera Company, in addition to an Italian guest singer, tenor Dario Di Vietri as Radames, Captain of the Guard.
The Egyptian cast included soprano Iman Moustafa as Aida, bass baritone Osama Gamal as the king of Egypt, bass-baritone Reda El-Wakil as Ramfis the high priest, baritone Emad Adel as Amonasro the king of Ethiopia, double cast: mezzo–sopranos Jolie Faizy and Amina Khairat as Amneris the daughter of the king, among others
The Cairo Opera Orchestra and the Cairo Opera Choir was conducted by Elio Orciuolo, with his first Egyptian appearance in the famed opera.
Opera Aida has special thematic and historic significance in Egyptian culture and is one of the most popular operatic works performed in Egypt. It was composed by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni and is based on a story written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, commissioned by khedive Ismail Pasha.
Opera Aida was first performed in Cairo on 24 December 1871. Throughout the decades, the opera has continuously been performed in Egypt at the old Khedieval Opera House then the new Opera House.
The famed performances also took place at Deir Al-Bahari Temple (Hatshepsut Temple) in Luxor in the 1990s, and in front of the Giza pyramids.
With Aida's return to the Cairo Opera House, it is performed twice a year, and continues to remain among the opera's highlights, drawing large audiences to each performance.
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