Aida (Opera Journeys Mini Guide Series) by Burton D. Fisher

By Burton D. Fisher

A handy, pocket-sized advisor to Verdi's AIDA which comprises the significant CHARACTERS within the opera, the tale SYNOPSIS, a tale NARRATIVE WITH ONE-BAR track spotlight examples, and an essay offering historical past in regards to the opera and its composer, research, and insightful remark.

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With Aida, Verdi rejuvenated and even revolutionized Italian opera. The throbbing passions which explode throughout the entire Aida story certainly influenced the next generation of Italian verismo opera composers, represented by Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (1890), Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (1892), and certainly by Puccini, who, as a young man, was determined to become an opera composer after he saw Aida. Aida again revealed the extraordinary powers that Verdi had within his musical arsenal, but in this opera, they are revealed with renewed purpose.

Aida has hidden herself in the crypt in order to die with Radames. With peaceful resignation, suggesting that Radames and Aida are speeding to celestial havens, the two lovers bid farewell to earth. Verdi’s music provides images of the final consummation of their love through an ironical quietness that fails to express the cruelty of their fate. Offstage the priestesses chant their prayer “Immenso Fthà” (“Powerful Phthà”) almost in a whisper. In the temple above the crypt, Amneris, in breathless phrases, prays for peace for Radames’s soul.

The split stage configuration in the final scene of Aida was Verdi’s own idea. Below, Radames despairs in his sealed tomb, and above, in the temple, Amneris sobs on the stone that has been sealed. In ancient Egypt, life on earth was closely tied to death; earthly life was only a passage to the afterlife, and heaven was a blessed welcome. Verdi’s soft, almost transcendent musical language portrays that spiritual ideal. He consciously strove to portray Aida’s final moments as a mellow farewell to life on earth—serene, simple, and poignant.

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