Turin celebrates the reopening of the Museo Egizio — the world’s biggest Egyptian Museum after Cairo — with Verdi’s grandest opera. A new AIDA production, staged by American film director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and conducted by leading Verdian Gianandrea Noseda.
Verdi was commissioned to write his Egyptian opera for the new Khedivial Opera House built to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. AIDA is perhaps best-known for the massive choral forces and onstage natural trumpets deployed in the Triumph Scene which depicts the return of the victorious general Radamès leading the conquered Ethiopian prisoners including their king Amonasro and father of his secretly beloved Aida.
But within the opulent splendour of ancient Egypt lies the personal anguish of a love triangle involving two proud princesses, Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris and the enslaved Aida, who are both devastated by the arrest of Radamès for betraying his country.
Teatro Regio has asked a true master of suspense to stage its new AIDA: American director William Friedkin, who reached world fame directing films such as “French Connection“ and “The Exorcist“. With this new production, the company also celebrates the reopening of the Museo Egizio, the Egyptian Museum of Turin – one of the oldest and most prominent collections of Egyptian artefacts in the entire world.
Verdi’s AIDA has become synonymous with grand opera at its most spectacular. Conceived to celebrate a great occasion, its most famous feature remains the triumph scene which concludes the first part of the opera and which demands massed choral forces, a ballet and six natural trumpets on stage. Yet, the opera begins and ends quietly. At its heart lies a human story of two women in love with the same man.
The Verdi who composed AIDA was a national authority. As Senator of the Kingdom (1861-1865), he had actively contributed to ‘making Italians’; in 1868, he had sponsored the great national tribute to the memory of Rossini. He was the highest paid musician of the time and he could afford to refuse prestigious decorations (in 1868, he was appointed Commander of the Crown of Italy). In short ,Verdi, on the threshold of his sixtieth birthday, could afford to think only of his music without worrying about compromises.
Turin celebrates the reopening of the Museo Egizio— the world’s biggest Egyptian Museum after Cairo — with Verdi’s grandest opera. A new AIDA production, staged by American film director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and conducted by leading Verdian Gianandrea Noseda.