AIDA to Play at Grand Theatre Geneve

AIDA to Play at Grand Theatre GeneveGuiseppe Verdi's opera, Aida, will play at the Grand Theatre Geneve Oct. 11-22, 2019.

Aida takes place in a very recognizable but completely unhistoric Ancient Egypt; the opera says more about the relationship between Egypt and Europe at the end of the 19th century than of the Kingdom of the Pharaohs. The plot is unapologetically romantic.

Aida, an Ethiopian princess taken as a captive slave after the defeat of her kingdom at the hands of Pharaoh's armies, is both a war trophy and lady-in-waiting to Princess Amneris. To make matters worse, Aida is in love with the Egyptian general Radames, the conqueror of Ethiopia and Amneris' love interest. Radames, obviously, only has eyes for Aida, who is torn between the love for her country and her passionate desire for the Egyptian hero. A tide of sentiment runs like the Nile through Verdi's music for the occasion, flowing from the bombastic to moments of extraordinary tenderness.

British director Phelim McDermott offers the audience a new take on the culture of the people of Ancient Egypt in Aida, one that allows us also to question the world in which we live. This new perspective entails a number of bold creative choices that do not make use of the traditional staging imagery associated with Aida. Aida's command to Radames - "Ritorna vincitor !" - comes at a price. The triumphal march of the victorious Egyptians is a procession for the coffins of the heroes fallen in battle, the chorus are their grieving kinsfolk.

McDermott's staging resonates keenly with the images of so many civilian and military funerals that crowd our newsfeeds. Here is a triumphal march that does not seek to hide the true, lethal and disastrous nature of war, whatever side you are on. More than 70 years after the (fourth) Geneva Convention and the UN Charter of Human Rights, how should we consider the relationship between the vanquished and the victorious, the conquered and their conquerors and all the forced migrations that inevitably follow? Who will speak for the victims, who count as little more than human collateral damage? What responsibility for the victor and his henchmen in the fate of the human beings their victory sends into the exile of wretched anonymity. Aida and Radames' last duet touches on all these questions before they take refuge in death, as their last and only hope. The voice of Amneris resonates in the tomb with the final words : "Pace, pace."

The musical direction of this great score is in the expert hands of Sicilian conductor Antonino Fogliani, at the head of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande for his first appearance in Geneva, and some of the greatest Verdian voices of the moment.

The cast features Yonghoon Lee and Najmiddin Mavlyanov as "Radames," Serena Farnocchia and Elena Stikhina as "Aida," Marina Prudenskaya and Anna Smirnova as "Amneris," Alexey Markov as "Amonasro," Liang Li as "Ramfis," Donald Thomson as "Il Re," Denzil Delaere as "Un Messaggero" and Claire de Sévigné as "Sacerdotessa."

For more information and tickets to Aida, tap here.

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