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Verdi's "Aida", Live in HD Series, Outdoors at the Metropolitan Opera House
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Verdi's "Aida", Live in HD Series, Outdoors at the Metropolitan Opera House

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Verdi’s Aida
(Live in HD Series Web Page)
At the
Metropolitan Opera
www.metopera.org

Outdoors at the
Metropolitan Opera House
www.lincolncenter.org

Liudmyla Monastyrksa as Aida
Roberto Alagna as Radamès
Olga Borodina as Amneris
George Gagnidze as Amonasro
Stefan Kocán as Ramfis
Conductor, Fabio Luisi

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto: Antonio Ghislanzoni
Production: Sonja Frisell
Set Designer: Gianni Quaranta
Costume Designer: Dada Saligeri
Lighting Designer: Gil Wechsler
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 2, 2013


Aida (1871)
Original Recorded Production, December 15, 2012
(Read the Synopsis of Aida ).

Seeing Aida in all its grandeur on the big screen film presentation at the Met Opera’s outdoor Live in HD Series, was an experience I won’t forget. Liudmyla Monastyrska enacted and sang the soprano role of Aida, the Egyptian slave of Amneris (Olga Borodina, mezzo-soprano), daughter of the King, in the days of Egypt’s rule by Pharaohs. The warrior, Radamès (Roberto Alagna, tenor), is appointed to lead the Egyptians in war against the Ethiopians. The plot thickens, as Radamès is actually carrying on a secret liaison with Aida, whose father is Amonasro, King of Ethiopia (George Gagnidze, baritone). Also in love with Radamès is Amneris, who tricks Aida into revealing her true emotions. Amneris pretends that Radamès was killed in the battle and then declares she was incorrect, that Radamès is actually alive, and Aida sings for joy with passion. Radamès is offered Amneris’ hand in marriage and eventual rule of Egypt, as a reward for winning the battle, but he and Aida cannot be separated, causing revenge by Amneris, the woman scorned, and the tragic fate of Radamès and Aida.

The Met Opera Chorus and supernumeraries appear as the Army of Egyptians, as the Army of Ethiopians, as captive Ethiopian slaves, and as dancers at the victory celebration. Alexei Ratmansky has created buoyant, brisk choreography for the large dance ensemble. Since this is a filmed opera, with many close-ups, I was able to see which characters, in the large victory scene, were actually singing. Many extremely muscular characters, apparently supernumeraries, were dressed as Egyptian soldiers. Others were piled on a cart or walked in chains, as Ethiopian captives. The camera led the eye as the Met stage expanded, in Act II, as Radamès arrived with treasures from the vanquished land of Ethiopia. The close-ups also revealed theatrical gestures, especially in Ms. Borodina’s performance. Among all the actors, she performed with the most expressiveness and physical characterization. In fact, when she stands with her object of desire, Radamès, and Aida gets too close, Ms. Borodina’s lifted eyebrow and sweep of the head drew much laughter from the outdoor audience.

Ms. Borodina, mezzo-soprano, filled the Plaza with exceptional arias. Ms. Monastyrska, spinto soprano, reached extraordinary high notes over the fullness of Verdi’s orchestral score. Her dramatic gestures were understated, however, more restrained, even in duos with Alagna. Robert Alagna, tenor, is stunning to listen to and to observe, but his onstage persona had little chemistry and much distance with Ms. Monastyrska, his lover. His arias, like the early “Celeste Aida”, were powerful and poignant, though, sung with compelling charisma. Mr. Gagnidze, baritone, like his character’s enemy, Ms. Borodina, gestured with wildness in his dark eyes and piercing vocal strength. Mr. Stefan Kocán, bass, as high priest, was youthful, yet filled with gravitas, an imposing character, who sings with deep, steady tones. Fabio Luisi, Conductor, kept the music of this expansive, renowned opera sumptuous, searing, and stunning. The camera shots of the orchestra pit were a superb view of the musicians in the moment. Sonja Frisell’s production, with Gianni Quaranta’s sets, Dada Saligeri’s costumes, and Gil Wechsler’s lighting, was extremely well conceived. The sets were minimalist, like miles of pure stone, in contrast to the enormous Act II series of ensembles, in complex hairpieces and jewelry, with five live horses, carriages of treasures, swords, golden helmets, capes, gowns, tunics, and more. Filmed close-ups highlighted the earring and hair designs, fabric embroideries, and embossed ornamentations on the weaponry and warrior gear. The audience remained seated, after four intermission-less acts, and applauded during the screen credits. Click HERE for the 2013-2014 opera schedule and tickets.



Liudmyla Monastyrska in "Aida"
Courtesy of Met Opera Website



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net