2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 1

How well do you know Aida?

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 2

Who's who?

Aida: originally, an Ethiopian princess (unbeknown to her Egyptian captives), daughter of Amonasro, the warrior-king. In the plot, we meet Aida as a servant of Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian king. She is secretly in love with Radames.

Amneris: daughter of the Egyptian king. She is openly in love with Radames. She becomes suspicious of her rival-in-love and drives her slave to an open confession. She condemns Radames to death for not returning his love, but curses the priests who do not show mercy on him.

Radames: Captian of the Egyptian Guard. He conquers the Ethiopians and returns triumphantly to his homeland. He is in love with Aida, even though he is given Amneris' hand in marriage. He is accused of treason as he discloses the military secret to his enemy and chooses death over a forced betrayal of love to Aida.

The King of Egypt: Amneris' father. He selects Radames to lead the battle against the Ethiopians.

Amonasro: King of Ethiopia. He is captured-in-battle as slave, although he initially only reveals his true identity to his daughter Aida who is serving in the Egyptian palace.

Ramfis: The Egyptian High Priest. He is the first to instil the warring lust in Radames. He advises against the full release of the Ethiopian slaves as per Radames' request. Hence Amonasro and Aida are retained. He also recites the charges against Radames at the end.

Messenger: The messenger brings the news that the Ethiopians are mounting an attack from the Thebes.

High Priestess: She leads the chorus of priestess inside the Temple of Vulcan when Radames is installed as Commander-in-chief of the Egyptian army.

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 3

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 4

ACT 1
Scene 1: A hall in the King's palace; through the rear gate the pyramids and temples of Memphis are visible

Ramfis, the high priest of Egypt, tells Radamès, the young warrior, that war with the Ethiopians seems inevitable, and Radamès hopes that he will be chosen as the Egyptian commander. Radamès dreams both of gaining victory on the battlefield and of Aida, an Ethiopian slave, with whom he is secretly in love.

Aida, who is also secretly in love with Radamès, is the captured daughter of the Ethiopian King Amonasro, but her Egyptian captors are unaware of her true identity. Her father has invaded Egypt to deliver her from servitude.

Amneris, the daughter of the Egyptian King, enters the hall. She too loves Radamès, but fears that his heart belongs to someone else. Aida appears and, when Radamès sees her, Amneris notices that he looks disturbed. She suspects that Aida could be her rival, but is able to hide her jealousy and approach Aida.

The King enters, along with the High Priest, Ramfis, and the whole palace court. A messenger announces that the Ethiopians, led by King Amonasro, are marching towards Thebes. The King declares war and proclaims that Radamès is the man chosen by the goddess Isis to be the leader of the army. Upon receiving this mandate from the King, Radamès proceeds to the temple of Vulcan to take up the sacred arms.

Alone in the hall, Aida feels torn between her love for her father, her country, and Radamès.


Scene 2: Inside the Temple of Vulcan

Solemn ceremonies and dances by the priestesses take place. This is followed by the installation of Radamès to the office of commander-in-chief. All present in the temple pray fervently for the victory of Egypt and protection for their warriors.

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 5

ACT 2
Scene 1: The chamber of Amneris

Dances and music to celebrate Radamès' victory take place. However, Amneris is still in doubt about Radamès' love and wonders whether Aida is in love with him. She tries to forget her doubt, entertaining her worried heart with the dance of Moorish slaves.

When Aida enters the chamber, Amneris asks everyone to leave. By falsely telling Aida that Radamès has died in the battle, she tricks her into professing her love for him. In grief, and shocked by the news, Aida confesses that her heart belongs to Radamès eternally.

This confession fires Amneris with rage, and she plans on taking revenge on Aida. Ignoring Aida's pleadings, Amneris leaves her alone in the chamber.

 

Scene 2: The grand gate of the city of Thebes

Radamès returns victorious and the troops march into the city.

The Egyptian king decrees that on this day the triumphant Radamès may have anything he wishes. The Ethiopian captives are led onstage in chains, Amonasro among them. Aida immediately rushes to her father, who whispers to her to conceal his true identity as King of Ethiopia from the Egyptians. Amonasro deceptively proclaims to the Egyptians that the Ethiopian king (referring to himself) has been slain in battle.

Aida, Amonasro, and the captured Ethiopians plead with the Egyptian King for mercy, but Ramfis and the Egyptian priests call for their death. 
Claiming the reward promised by the King of Egypt, Radamès pleads with him to spare the lives of the prisoners and to set them free. The King grants Radamès' wish, and declares that he (Radamès) will be his (the King's) successor and will marry the King's daughter (Amneris). At Ramfis' suggestion to the King, Aida and Amonasro remain as hostages to ensure that the Ethiopians do not avenge their defeat.

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 6

Act 3
On the banks of the Nile, near the Temple of Isis

Prayers are said on the eve of Amneris and Radamès' wedding in the Temple of Isis. Outside, Aida waits to meet with Radamès as they had planned.

Amonasro appears and orders Aida to find out the location of the Egyptian army from Radamès. Aida, torn between her love for Radamès and her loyalty to her native land and to her father, reluctantly agrees. When Radamès arrives, Amonasro hides behind a rock and listens to their conversation.

Radamès affirms that he will marry Aida, and Aida convinces him to flee to the desert with her.

In order to make their escape easier, Radamès proposes that they use a safe route without any fear of discovery and reveals the location where his army has chosen to attack. Upon hearing this, Amonasro comes out of hiding and reveals his identity. Radamès realizes, to his extreme dismay, that he has unwittingly revealed a crucial military secret to the enemy.

At the same time, Amneris and Ramfis leave the temple and, seeing Radamès in conference with the enemy, call for the imperial guards. Amonasro draws a dagger, intending to kill Amneris and Ramfis before the guards can hear them, but Radamès disarms him, quickly orders him to flee with Aida, and surrenders himself to the imperial guards as Aida and Amonasro run off. The guards arrest him as a traitor.

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Synopsis 7

Act 4
Scene 1: A hall in the Temple of Justice. To one side is the door leading to Radamès' prison cell

Amneris desires to save Radamès. She calls for the guard to bring him to her.

She asks Radamès to deny the accusations, but Radamès, who does not wish to live without Aida, refuses. He is relieved to know Aida is still alive and hopes she has reached her own country.

Offstage, Ramfis recites the charges against Radamès and calls on him to defend himself, but he stands mute, and is condemned to death as a traitor. Amneris, who remains onstage, protests that he Radamès is innocent, and pleads with the priests to show mercy. The priests sentence him to be buried alive; Amneris weeps and curses the priests as he is taken away.


Scene 2: The lower portion of the stage shows the vault in the Temple of Vulcan; the upper portion represents the temple itself

Radamès has been taken into the lower floor of the temple and sealed up in a dark vault, where he thinks that he is alone. As he hopes that Aida is in a safer place, he hears a sigh and then sees Aida. She has hidden herself in the vault in order to die with Radamès. They accept their terrible fate and bid farewell to Earth and its sorrows. Above the vault in the temple of Vulcan, Amneris weeps and prays to the goddess Isis. In the vault below, Aida dies in Radamès' arms as the priests, offstage, pray to the god Ftha.

Interested enough in watching the whole plot unfold? Read more on this new production, or get your tickets straightaway.

2020.10.10 Opera Aida Event Icon Online Booking

Photos by Anthony Grech | Aida 2009, Teatru tal-Opra Aurora (Gozo).

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