Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(Verdi: Aida). Ten. Captain in the Egyptian army. He is in love with Aida, daughter of the Ethiopian Amonasro, who has become slave—girl to the Egyptian Princess Amneris. His ambition is to lead the Egyptian troops so that he can again see Aida. To celebrate his victory, the King of Egypt offers his daughter as Radamès's bride. He dare not refuse without causing offence and being accused of treason. The night before his wedding, he arranges to meet Aida for the last time on the banks of the river. As he says his last farewell to her, he does not realize that she, reluctantly and forced by her father, is trying to extract from him the troops’ invasion plans so that the Ethiopians can be a step ahead. When Radamès's bride‐to‐be, Amneris, emerges from the temple, Amonasro thrusts himself forward with the intention of killing her. He is prevented by Radamès and allowed to escape with his daughter, while Radamès offers himself as a prisoner of the King of Egypt. He is incarcerated in a tomb below the temple altar. There he finds Aida hiding and waiting for him, so they can die together. Aria: Celeste Aida (‘Heavenly Aida’); duet (with Aida): Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aida (‘At last I see you again, my sweet Aida’). Celeste Aida, one of the most famous of all Italian tenor arias, is also one of the most difficult. The tenor singing the part of Radamès has been on stage a very short while before he reaches the aria, with no time to ‘warm up’—he just has to sing it ‘cold’. Also, the aria ends on a very high note (a top B flat), which the score indicates as ‘very quiet and dying away’. The temptation for the tenor is usually too great, and the last note rings out loudly and (one hopes) triumphantly. Famous interpreters include Aureliano Pertile, Giovanni Martinelli, Richard Tucker, Mario Filippeschi (who began his musical career as a clarinettist), Hans Hopf, Mario del Monaco, Jussi Björling, Franco Corelli, Carlo Bergonzi, Jon Vickers, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. Created (1871) by Pietro Mongini.

Subjects: Opera.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.