The Opera, being one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind is one of, if not the main attraction in Verona. The Amphitheatre was built in AD 30 and at the time could hold 30,000 spectators. It was during the Renaissance era that they first started to recuperate the arena and make it one of the largest out door theaters ever. Now, over 500,000 people every year go to see an Opera in Verona. 15,000 spectators can be seated in the arena for a performance and many of the world’s most notable opera singers and conductors have performed there. The Opera Festival 2014 in Verona includes many productions such as Un ballo in maschera, Carmen, Romeo et Juliette and Aida, which we saw.
Story of Aida:
Long Version (feel free to skip to the Short Version)-
There are word of war in Memphis, and it is then made official that the Ethiopians are about to invade Egypt. Radames, a man of courage and initiative hopes to be assigned the position of supreme commander of the Egyptian army. He fantasizes of victory, triumph, glory and wants to impress Aida, the women who he secretly loves. But here comes the catch. Aida is an Ethiopian slave who works for the Pharoh’s daughter, Amneris. Don’t forget that to complicate things further Amneris also has to be in love with Radames. The Egyptians receive a message confirming that the Ethiopians have invaded being led by King Amonasro. Of course to reach the lever of max complication King Amonasro has to be Aida’s father. So now we have been introduced to this messed up triangle.. pentagon.. quadrilateral.. circle..(whatever you want to call it) of hate and love. Aida grieves, hoping Radames will triumph but also wants her father. Radames has already received the position of supreme commander of the army (of course) and now is blessed and sent off to war.
Amneris tells Aida that Radames has died in the war (a lie) to see if her suspicion that Aida is in love with Radames is true. Aida is heartbroken, confirming Amneris suspicion and Amneris threatens revenge. Radames has won and so act II greatly is composed of the homecoming celebration filled with marches and dances. Radames and his army have captured Ethiopean prisoners, including King Amonasro, Aida’s father. The Pharoh promises to grant all of Radames’s wishes. Ramfis, another commander of high position shows no pitty towards the Ethiopean prisoners, while Radames’s requests that the prisoners are to be let free. The King decides to make a compromise, and lets all the prisoners free except Amonasro and Aida, who are to be kept as hostages. Then of course to dramatically end the scene they announce that the Pharoh’s daughter, Amneris is to be married to Radames. Dan dan dan daaaaa!
The night before her wedding Amneris goes into the temple of Isis on the banks of the Nile. Radames and Aida being desperate have also arranged to meet there secretly (it just had to be where Amneris would be..) To make everything even more complex, guess who unexpectedly appears there as well. No one other then Aida’s father, Amonasro. Amonasro has also planned an ambush on the Egyptian army and figuring out about Aida and Radames, takes advantage of his daughters feelings. After making his daughter feel guilty as could be, he convinces her to figure out the rout the Egyptian army will take though Radames. Radames tells Aida the rout and at the worst time possible Amonasro reveals himself. To make the situation worse Amneris who has heard everything (EVERYTHING) comes out. Amonasro jumps to stab her, but Radames stops him. Aida and her father flee, and Aida’s dream of love is crushed.
Though Amneris feels betrayed and hurt by Radames, she decides to help him. She tells him that she will ask her father for his mercy, but Radames knowing Aida is gone says he would prefer to die. The priests decide that Radames is guilty and should be buried alive. As he reaches his death bed, a tombstone under the Temple of Vulcan he sees that Aida is hiding there. She has entered secretly, to die alongside her beloved. How romantic (not really..) They are both buried alive, so proving their endless strong love.
A different, weird version of Romeo & Juliet, with many more “complications” set in Ancient Egypt where in the end they demonstrate the power of their love by being buried alive together. If that’s how they proved their love in those days… I think I’ll pass.
The setting of the stage was breathtaking, at one point my brother counted around 300 actors on the stage and at one point real horses walked across the stage (if that were my horse… I don’t even want to think about how that would have ended). The ballet was beautiful and exiting.The orchestra was perfect and the composer was amazing and so into the music. The composed ran, jumped, and shook his head like a rock star, which was very enjoyable. The Opera singers were amazing, and though it is impossible to understand a word, you can feel their emotions though their voices. My younger brother and sister stayed for half and so after 2 hours they went home. I stayed with my mom to watch the whole Opera and I have to admit that 4 hours is longgggg. It ended at one in the morning and my legs and butt felt a little numb afterwards. But overall it surprised me and was better then I expected.