Sunday, December 23, 2018

Celebrating the anniversary of Aida's world premiere

Ain Anger as Ramfis at Houston Grand Opera
Verdi's masterpiece Aida premiered on December 24, 1871. The opera was commissioned for the grand opening of Cairo's Khedivial Opera House. Verdi did not attend the premiere in Cairo, as he was upset that opening night was not open to the general public. He considered the Italian premiere at La Scala in Milan on February 8, 1872 to be its real premiere. 

The U.S. premiere was on November 26, 1873 at the Academy of Music in New York City. The opera has been adapted for motion pictures on several occasions, most notably in a 1953 production which starred Sophia Loren.

Aida at the Teatro Carlo Felice
The opera includes three roles for low voice: Amonasro (king of Ethiopia), Ramfis (the high priest) and the King of Egypt.

A number of noted barihunks have sung each of the roles. The bass role of Ramfis has been performed by Ezio Pinza, Erwin Schrott, Nicolas Courjal, Andrea Mastroni, Kevin Thompson, Ain Anger, Raymond Aceto and Adrian Sâmpetrean.

The Kings: Soloman Howard at The Met and Anthony Reed at San Francisco Opera
The bass role of The King has been sung my Matt Treviño, Ben Wager, Jud Arthur, Kenneth Kellogg, Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Florian Spiess and Anthony Reed.

The baritone role of Amonasaro has been sung by Marco Vratogna, Sherrill Milnes and Michael Honeyman. 

Ezio Pinza and Giovanni Martinelli sings "Mortal diletto ai Numi":

Some of the most famous numbers for low voices in Aida include the Act 3 duet between Aida and Amonasro "Ciel, mio padre...Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate" and Ramfis' "Mortal, diletto ai Numi, a te fidate."

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