Aida (3 CD)
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Aida (3 CD)
Conductor: Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Label: RWC/Rhino Warner Classics
Release Date: 05/12/17
Gloriously sumptuous, Aida is often termed Verdi’s grandest opera, but crucial for Nikolaus Harnoncourt was its essence as “a deeply profound work – subtle, transparent, at times almost like chamber music.” Reflecting his insights is a performance that never sacrifices lyricism and nuance to the epic drama, ritual pomp and mighty passions. Cristina Gallardo-Domâs and Vincenzo La Scola bring touching beauty and expressivity to Aida and Radamès, Thomas Hampson makes an Amonasro of consummate cunning, and Olga Borodina, proud, sensual and fiery, is the embodiment of Princess Amneris.
This grandest of grand operas, Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida features an epic backdrop for what is in essence an intimate love story set in ancient Egypt packed with magnificent choruses, dramatic arias, complex ensembles and elaborate ballets. The opera is, at its core, a profound exploration of the conflict of private emotion and public duty.
The score of this 4-act opera is a sophisticated example of Italian Romanticism as heard in the “Celeste Aida” right at the beginning of Act I, her impassioned “Ritorna vincitor!” that follows and her great internal journey, “Qui Radamès verrà! O patria mia” in Act III. At the center of Act II, is the great Triumphal Scene, which ranks among opera’s most celebrated moments.
Notable performances include a 1955 production conducted by Tullio Serafin with Maria Callas as Aida and Richard Tucker as Radamès, as well as a 1959 performance conducted by Herbert van Karajan with Renata Tebaldi as Aida and Carlo Bergonzi as Radamès.
Today the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world.
At the Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been performed more than 1,500 times since 1886 and was presented again in the Met’s 2018–19 season.
Aida was commissioned by and first performed at Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House on December 24, 1871.
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