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Aida


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(Verdi: Aida). Sop. Daughter of Amonasro, King of Ethiopia. She was captured when the Egyptians defeated Ethiopia and is now a slave to the Egyptian princess Amneris. Aida is torn between her love for Radamès, captain of the Egyptian army, and loyalty to her own country. She is urged to use Radamès to secure for her father the plans of the Egyptian army, so that the Ethiopians can defeat them. She tries to persuade Radamès to elope with her—this will avoid the marriage which is planned for him with Amneris and at the same time will remove the need for her to deceive him on behalf of her father. As they plan their departure, Amonasro appears. He tries to kill Aida, his daughter's rival. Radamès foils his attempt and allows him to escape with Amneris, offering himself as captive in their place. Knowing this will mean certain death for the man she loves, Aida secretes herself in the tomb beneath the altar where Radamès is to be incarcerated, and joins him to face death together. Arias: Ritorna vincitor! (‘Conqueror return!’); O patria mia (‘O my native land’); O terra addio… (‘Farewell, O land’). Among well‐known singers of Aida we can note Emmy Destinn, Rose Bampton, Leonie Rysanek, Birgit Nilsson, Ingrid Bjoner, Amy Shuard, Zinka Milanov, Maria Callas, Gré Brouwenstijn, Renata Tebaldi, Martina Arroyo, Leontyne Price, Montserrat Caballé, Ghena Dimitrova, Aprile Millo, Elizabeth Vaughan, Jessye Norman, Rosalind Plowright, Josephine Barstow, and Mechthild Gessendorf. Created (1871) by Antonietta Pozzoni‐Anastasi (who was a second choice—the theatre director wanted Teresa Stolz, whom Verdi wanted for the Milan première six weeks later, but her demands for an outrageous fee made it impossible for Cairo to engage her and Verdi settled for Pozzoni. Verdi did not go to Cairo for the première).

Subjects: Opera.


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