Of the 26 operas on schedule at the Met this season, you won’t find one more spectacular than Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida.
A staple of the Metropolitan Opera House, first performed in 1871 in Cairo, the Egyptian love triangle never ceases to amaze and delight all audiences in its grand spectacle.
Verdi’s Italian Romanticism, a tale of private versus public needs, played out in ancient Egypt never loses sight of its three main characters yet manages to present the audience with some of opera’s grandest ensembles and immense choruses.
This season’s version is conducted by Marco Armiliato, who guides the orchestra through the four acts with precision. Chorus Master Donald Palumbo and Dance Director Joseph Fritz provide the audience with a masterfully arranged production.
There’s a certain beauty of Ukrainian Liudmyla Monastryska’s soprano voice in the titular role of Aida, the gentle beauty. Unfortunately she missed the mark with impassive acting skills to truly bring the pain of the Ethiopian princess turned slave girl as she pines for her love, the warrior Radames, played by Marcello Giordani.
Mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina shows off her still impressive vocal skills in the role of Amneris, yet is lackluster in her delivery playing the role of the Pharaoh’s daughter and Aida’s rival.
Strong performances were seen by Dmitry Belosselskiy in the role of the priest Ramfis and American Soloman Howard, who plays the Pharaoh.
Aida is more than just singing. It’s the precision of the spectacle that wows the audience. During the Triumphant March scene at the city of Thebes, over 100 extras graced the Met’s stage with only the horses missing their marks.
The grandeur of the set design, by designer Gianni Quaranta (A Room With a View) premiered in 1988, allows you to believe you are transported back to the Ancient Egypt for the 3 hour and 40 minute experience.
Aida’s grandiose manifestation still charms the audience being a staple of any opera house yet none grander than the demonstration at the Met.
For any opera fan, Aida is highly recommended.
Melissa Fanny Handman is an aficionado of tennis, opera and all things New York.