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AÏDA

 

Polish National Opera

Composer

Giuseppe Verdi

Librettist

Antonio Ghislanzoni

Performed in Italian with English surtitles

 

A tragic tale of forbidden love, Aïda follows the struggle of the Nubian princess,

AÏDA

 

Polish National Opera

Composer

Giuseppe Verdi

Librettist

Antonio Ghislanzoni

Performed in Italian with English surtitles

 

A tragic tale of forbidden love, Aïda follows the struggle of the Nubian princess, Aïda, and the young Egyptian warrior, Radamès, to decide between love or loyalty to their countries.

The Egyptians have captured and enslaved Aïda. An Egyptian military commander, Radamès, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh as Ramadès has been betrothed to the powerful and extremely jealous Princess Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter.

 

Full Synopsis

ACT 1

Outside of the royal palace near Memphis, Ramfis (Egypt’s high priest) informs Radamès (a young warrior) that armies from Ethiopia are making their way towards the Nile valley. Radamès expresses his hope of being appointed the commander of Egypt’s army where he can lead his troops to victory, as well as rescue Aïda, his Ethiopian lover captured by Egyptian troops. Unbeknownst to him, as well as the rest of Egypt, Aïda is the daughter of Ethiopia’s king, Amonasro. Since her capture, Aïda has served as slave to the Egyptian princess, Amneris. Amneris is in love Radamès, but senses he is in love with another woman. It isn’t long before Amneris figures out who the mystery woman is when she sees the longing glances shared between him and Aïda. Amneris maintains her composure, masking her deep-rooted jealousy, and continues to keep Aïda as her slave. The king of Egypt arrives and announces that Ramfis’ information was correct and that Ethiopian troops, led by the King of Ethiopia himself, have already made their way into Thebes.

The king appoints Radamès as the leader of the army while simultaneously declaring war on Ethiopia. An overjoyed Radamès makes his way to the temple to complete his coronation ritual. Left alone in the hall, Aïda becomes distraught as she is forced to choose between her Egyptian lover and her father and country.

 

ACT 2

After their victorious battle, Radamès and his troops return from Thebes. Inside Amneris’ chambers, she has her slaves entertain her in light of the battle. Doubting her suspicions of Aïda and Radamès, she decides to test Aïda. She dismisses all of her slaves except for Aïda, and tells her that Radamès has died in battle. Aïda breaks down into tears and confesses her love for Radamès, which instantly infuriates Amneris, who vows revenge.

Radamès makes his triumphant return to Memphis, marching through the city with his troops, while the captured Ethiopians trail behind. Aïda sees her captured father and rushes to his side. He makes her promise not to reveal their true identities. The King of Egypt, so delighted with Radamès’ performance, honours him by granting him anything he asks for. Before Radamès can make his request, Amonasro declares that the King of Ethiopia was killed in battle and asks the Egyptian king to set them free. The people of Egypt, however, join in chant asking for their death and the King grants their desires. In order to save his lover’s life, Radamès cashes in on the King’s generosity and asks him to spare the lives of the Ethiopians. The King happily grants him his request and declares Radamès his successor and future husband of Princess Amneris.

Aïda and her father are taken into custody to prevent any Ethiopian revolt.

 

ACT 3

As preparations are made for the upcoming wedding between Radamès and Amneris, Aïda waits for Radamès outside of the temple in a previously agreed upon spot. Aïda’s father, Amonasro, finds her and pressures her to find out where the Egyptian army is being kept. Feeling homesick, she agrees to her father’s wishes. When Radamès comes out of the temple to meet Aïda, Amonrasro hides and eavesdrops on their conversation. At first the lovers talk about their future lives together, but after Aïda asks, he tells her where the army is located. Amonasro comes out of hiding and reveals his identity to Radamès just as Amneris and the High Priest come out of the temple. Before Aïda and Amonasro escape, Aïda pleads for Radamès to follow them. Instead, Radamès submits himself to Amneris and the High Priest as a traitor.

 

ACT 4

Frustrated with Radamès, Amneris pleads with him to deny his accusations. Full of pride and love for his country, he does not. He accepts his punishment, but is happy to know that Aïda and her father have escaped. This hurts Amneris even more. She tells him that she will save him if he renounces his love for Aïda, but again, he refuses. The High Priest and his court condemn Radamès to death by being buried alive. Amneris begs for their mercy, but they do not budge.

Radamès is taken to the lowest level in the temple and is sealed away into a dark tomb. Moments after being locked away, he hears someone breathing in a dark corner; it is Aïda. She confesses her love for him and has chosen to die with him. The two embrace as Amneris weeps several floors above them.

 

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