Archives For Aida

I hope that you have all had a wonderful week and if you have any exciting tales to share you must let me know. My week has been filled with music making and observing my talented peers, which I ended with a Saturday focused on Opera.

Every day when I walk to College I pass the iconic museums that are an important part of South Kensington and on occasion, I love to visit them to break up my busy timetable. I find wandering the great exhibition halls of the Victoria & Albert Museum ( V&A ) fills me with inspiration and provides context about society during the periods of history that have affected many pieces of music that I study. Across the road from the V&A is the grandeur of the Natural History Museum which I often drop in to see the butterflies.

IMG_1328

However, on Saturday I went with my friends to an exhibition at the V&A dedicated to Opera aptly named Opera: Passion, Power , and Politics which is a collaboration between the V&A and the Royal Opera House. This wonderful exhibition aims to map out the journey of opera from its creation in Italy to the worldwide platform that exists today. For my student priced ticket, I received a high-tech audio guided tour, (with pretty awesome headphones by Bower&Wilkins) that glided seamlessly between selected pieces of operatic music beautifully handpicked to frame the amazing layout of the exhibition. It was extra special for me to hear Sir Antonio Pappano, a fantastic world-renowned conductor who holds the position of Music Director of the Royal Opera House, relate his personal interpretation of Shostakovich’s Opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. It felt so personal and exciting that I hung on to his every word. It was an amazing exhibition with so many pieces of beautiful art, videos of performances, librettos and manuscripts, and a working baroque stage. If I am able to, I would like to go again to really soak it all in. Each item was accompanied with a informed explanation that would both interest a new comer to Opera or add to the knowledge of an Opera aficionado. The exhibition ends on February 25th 2018 and if you are in London whilst the exhibition is on I can highly recommend.

Then on Saturday evening, I went to the London Coliseum to watch a performance of Verdi’s Aida. A collaboration between Improbable and the ENO. It was an exciting event for me to attend as my delightful director from Bambino, Phelim McDermott, directed this spellbinding interpretation. The singing was outstanding from the principal cast and the chorus performed with a beautiful blend and incredible dynamic range that kept the intensity of the piece alive. I particularly enjoyed the visually stunning, smokey and dimly lit Sacred Rite scene from Act 1 scene 2, which created a world that was far more intimate. I really believed in the magic of the High Priestess.

In act three the relationship between Aida, Latonia Moore and her father Amonasro King of Ethiopia, Musa Nggungwana, was so raw and honest that it left me guessing as to what would happen in this iconic operatic tale even though I know the story so well. For the production to command your attention in this way was an incredible thing to achieve on stage, as the story develops it draws you in and feels so real that you are there with them for each and every moment.

I want to work on this element in my own singing with the intention to communicate my feelings to the audience as if I myself don’t know how the aria ends, so that I too am in the moment and finding fresh ideas to make each performance unique in its own way.

A truly beautiful interpretation of Aida that is a must see.

My Aida Adventure

July 19, 2015 — 49 Comments

I’m finishing off writing this post as I wait to catch my coach which leaves for Verona at 4:20 pm.  I am planning a wonderful adventure this evening, a visit to the Verona Opera Festival to watch the marvellous opera “Aida”.

Aida-Set-2010

The Aida Set From My Visit In 2010

This is a special trip for me as a few years ago I visited Verona for the first time and I went to the arena and I watched the stage hands prepare the set for Aida.  I have a vivid memory of a huge golden and blue sphinx head being lifted into position by a huge crane and I was so excited.

Down-By-Staget-2010

Down By The Stage – 2010

At the time I was just venturing into the world of opera and now I am so excited that I get the opportunity to go to watch the production. I wonder if the set will be similar or whether it is a completely different adaptation.

Outside-The-Areana-2010

Outside The Arena – 2010

Aida-Arena-2010

The View From Down By The Stage – 2010

We have just arrived at 8:40 pm in Verona as it took ages to get here 🙂
Here are a couple of pictures outside the arena.

Outside-The-Arena-2015

Outside Waiting To Go In – 2015

Ticket

Here’s My Ticket

Inside-2015

Inside And Getting Ready For The Opera To Start

I have been so busy that I have not had time to write my own synopsis of the opera so I have borrowed the one below to give you a flavour of the story:

Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi

Aida, ACT 1
Outside of the royal palace near Memphis, Ramfis (Egypt’s high priest) informs Radames (a young warrior) that armies from Ethiopia are making their way towards the Nile valley.

Radames expresses his hope of being appointed the commander of Egypt’s army where he can lead his troops to victory, as well as rescue Aida, his Ethiopian lover captured by Egyptian troops. Unbeknownst to him, as well as the rest of Egypt, Aida is the daughter of Ethiopia’s king, Amonasro. Since her capture, Aida has served as slave to the Egyptian princess, Amneris. Amneris is in love Radames, but senses he is in love with another woman. It isn’t long before Amneris figures out who the mystery woman is when she sees the longing glances shared between Radames and Aida. Able to hide her jealousy, Amneris continues to keep Aida as her slave. The king of Egypt arrives and announces that Ramfis’ information was correct and that Ethiopian troops, lead by the King of Ethiopia himself, have already made their way into Thebes. The king appoints Radames as the leader of the army while simultaneously declaring war on Ethiopia. An overjoyed Radames makes his way to the temple to complete his coronation ritual.

Left alone in the hall, Aida becomes distraught as she is forced to choose between her lover and her father and country.

Aida, ACT 2

After their victorious battle, Radames and his troops are returning from Thebes. Inside Amneris’ chambers, she has her slaves entertain her in light of the battle. Doubting her suspicions of Aida and Radames, she decides to test Aida. She dismisses all of her slaves except for Aida. She tells Aida that Radames has died in battle. Aida breaks down and confesses her love for Radames, to which Amneris becomes furious and vows revenge.

Radames makes his triumphal return to Memphis as he and his troops march through the city. The captured Ethiopians follow. Aida rushes to her father, but he makes her promise not to reveal their true identities. The king of Egypt, so delighted with Radames performance, honors him by granting him anything he asks for. Amonasro declares that the King of Ethiopia has been killed, and asks the Egyptian king to set them free. The people of Egypt, however, chant for their death, and the King gives in to their desires. In order to save his lover’s life, he cashes in on the King’s generosity and asks the King to spare the lives of the Ethiopians. The King happily grants him his request and declares Radames his successor and future husband of Princess Amneris. Aida and her father remain in custody to prevent any Ethiopian revolt.

Aida, ACT 3

As preparations are made for the upcoming wedding between Radames and Amneris, Aida waits outside of the temple for Radames in an previously agreed upon spot. Aida’s father, Amonasro, pressures Aida to find out where the Egyptian army is kept. Feeling nostalgic for her homeland, she agrees to her fathers wishes. When Radames comes out of the temple to meet Aida, Amonrasro hides and eavesdrops on their conversation. Aida and Radames talk about their future lives together, and after Aida asks, he tells her where the army is located. Amonasro makes reveals himself and his identity just as Amneris and the high priest come out of the temple. When Aida and Amonasro escape, Aida pleads for Radames to follow them. Instead, Radames submits himself to Amneris and the priest as a traitor.

 

Aida, ACT 4

Frustrated with Radames, Amneris pleads with him to deny his accusations. Full of pride and love for his country, he does not. He accepts his punishment, but is happy to know that Aida and her father have escaped. This hurts Amneris even more so. She tells him that she will save him if he renounces his love for Aida, but again, he refuses. The high priest and his court condemn Radames to death by being buried alive. Amneris begs for their mercy, but they do not budge.

Radames is taken to the lowest level in the temple and is sealed away into a dark tomb. Moments after being locked away, he hears someone breathing in a dark corner; it is Aida. She confesses her love for him and has chosen to die with him. The two embrace as Amneris weeps several floors above them.

scroll

 

I have also added some pictures from our first our first performance last Wednesday ( 15th July ) as part of the Trentino Music Festival for Mezzano Romantica, it was a Broadway Gala held on the new stage in the square at Mezzano.

We had a tremendous audience and all the performers had a fabulous time. It was wonderful to work with such talented and lovely musicians and I even got the chance to get a little sassy on the dance floor during the performance of “America” from West Side Story.

For my duet I performed “All I Ask Of You” from the Phantom Of The Opera, with Piotr from Poland as Raoul and myself as Christine Daae.

Me-And-The-Girls

Broadway-Group

Broadway-Group-After-The-Show