Opera in 4 acts
First performance – 24 December 1871, Cairo (Egypt)
Stage Director, Set Designer – Franco Zeffirelli (Italy)
Musical Director and Conductor – Keri-Lynn Wilson (USA)
Conductor – Abzal Mukhitdinov, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Assistant Stage Director – Stefano Trespidi (Italy)
Costume Designer – Maurizio Millenotti (Italy)
Assistant costume designer – Lorena Marin (Italy)
Lighting Designer – Marco Filibeck (Italy)
Choirmaster – Yerzhan Dautov, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Choreographer – Tursynbek Nurkaliyev, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Performance with three intermissions
Running time 3 hours 45 minutes
Performed in Italian
(accompanied by synchronized subtitles in Kazakh and Russian)
Roles and performers:
KING OF EGYPT, Pharaoh – Arthur KAIPKULOV, Honored Artist of Tatarstan
AMNERIS, pharaoh’s daughter – Ekaterina GUBANOVA (Russia)
Marina PRUDENSKAYA (Germany)
Dina KHAMZINA, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
AIDA, slave, Ethiopian princess –Kristin LEWIS (USA)
Zhupar GABDULLINA (“Astana Opera”, Kazakhstan)
RADAM?S, captain of the palace guard – Walter FRACCARO (Italy)
Gustavo PORTA (Italy)
RAMFIS, the High Priest – Barseg TUMANYAN, Honored Artist of Armenia
AMONASRO, king of Ethiopia, Aida’s father – Luca SALSI (Italy)
Alberto GAZALE (Italy)
Talgat MUSSABAYEV, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
MESSENGER – Beimbet TANARYKOV
Zhan TAPIN, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
PRIESTESSES – Saltanat AKHMETOVA
Zhamilya JARKIMBAYEVA, Honored Worker of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Alfiya KARIMOVA, Honored Artist of Bashkortostan
Priests, priestesses, courtiers, warriors, slaves and prisoned Ethiopians, Egyptians
ORCHESTRA, CHORUS, BALLET and EXTRAS OF ASTANA OPERA HOUSE
The story is set in Memphis and Thebes, during the reign of pharaohs
A hall in the King’s palace at Memphis
The high priest Ramphis informs Radam?s, the captain of the guards, that the Ethiopeans have rebelled and are threatening the Nile valley. The goddess Isis has just told him the name of the man who is to command the Egyptian army, and the high priest goes off to inform the King. Left alone, Radam?s cherishes the secret hope that he himself has been selected and revels in the thought of his glory and above all of Aida, the Ethiopian slave whom he passionately loves. The expression on his face does not escape the notice of Amneris, the King’s daughter, who secretely loves him and fears a rival. When Aida enters, Radam?s’s agitation and that of the slave herself heighten Amneris’ suspicions. Preceded by guards, ministers and priests, the King enters. A Messenger tells of the invasion of the Ethiopians who, led by their king Amonasro, are about to attack Thebes. The King informs the assembled company, who invoke war, that Isis has chosen Radam?s to command the army. Radam?s exults. Amneris hands him a standard and everyone exhorts him to return as the winner. Aida alone is desperate, for she cannot hope either to see her people defeated and Amonasro, her father, dragged in chains, or to lose her beloved Radam?s.
Interior of the temple of Vulcan at Memphis
Ramfis and the priests stand beneath the altar. From within is heard the ritual of the priestesses invoking the god Fth?. Radam?s is ushered into the temple. While the priestesses dance, a veil is spread over the army chief’s head and he is invested with the sacred arms. Ramfis entrusts to him the fate of Egypt.
A room in Amneris’s apartment
While Moorish slaves dance, Amneris is being attired by her slave girls,in preparation for the triumphal festivities in honour of the conqueror Radam?s. Aida enters, looking shaken. Amneris is suspicious and pretends to share her sorrow over the defeat of the Ethiopian people. And when she gives her the false news that Radam?s has been slain in battle, Aida’s desperation confirms that the slave is her rival in love. The two women confront each other. In a fury, Amneris threatens Aida and forces her to attend her approaching triumph.
A gate to the city of Thebes
The King enters with his retinue, and sits on the throne. Next to him are the princess Amneris with her slaves and Aida. The people sing the praises of Egypt, Isis and the King. With a fanfare, the victorious army files past the King. At the end of this triumphal procession comes Radam?s. Amneris places a laurel crown on his head and the King invites him to ask for whatever he wishes. Aida catches sight of her father Amonasro, dressed as an ordinary officer, among the Ethiopian prisoners. She embraces him but, in order not to betray him, does not reveal his royal identity. Amonasro presents himself to the King and appeals for clemency for his conquered people. The Egyptians commiserate with the prisoners, but Ramfis and the priests advise the King to show no mercy. At this point Radam?s intervenes, asking the King to spare the lives and freedom of the defeated Ethiopians. The King consents and proclaims – on the advice of Ramfis – that Aida and her father alone shall be kept in Egypt as a token of peace. He then grants the hand of Amneris to Radam?s, who shall one day rule over Egypt. Amneris’ exultance is echoed by Aida’s despair.
The banks of the Nile
From the temple of Isis come ritual in honour of the goddess. And off a boat step Amneris, Ramfis, veiled women, and guards. It is the eve of the marriage, and Amneris goes to the temple to pray. Aida enters, covered by a veil. She awaits Radam?s, who has arranged a tryst with her there. In the meantime the girl muses on her frustrated dream of love and the beauties of her homeland that she will never see again. Her fatherAmonasro appears. Having noticed her feelings for Radam?s,he puts before her the prospect of returning home and happily living there with her beloved; but first the Egyptians must be defeated. He therefore asks her to wheedle out of Radam?s the secret route his army will be taking. Aida is reluctant, but eventually yields to Amonasro’s insistence when he calls her a slave to the Pharaohs and threatens to repudiate her. Amonasro now hides. Radam?s enters, and confides to Aida that he is hoping for another victory, which will enable him to obtain permission from the King to marry her as a reward. Aida proposes instead that he flee with her to Ethiopia, where they will be able to live happily. Radam?s hesitates, but she persuades him and they prepare to elope. Aida asks Radam?s how they can escape the army, and he replies that until the next day the gorge of N?pata will be safe. When Amonasro hears this name, he emerges and reveals that he is the king of the Ethiopians. Radam?s is petrified and realizes he has betrayed his country. When Amneris comes out of the temple and accuses Radam?s of betrayal, Amonasro leaps to kill her. But Radam?s steps between, and manages to prevent him from striking her. He lets Aida and her father escape and gives himself up to Ramfis.
A hall in the King’s palace
Amneris is desperate. Radam?s is about to be tried for treason. She still loves him and is determined to do her utmost to save him. She has him brought into her presence and begs him to clear himself of the charges against him. But Radam?s refuses. He declares that his honour is untarnished and that he is resolved to die, having lost Aida. Amneris reveals that the girl is alive and free, and promises to have his life spared if he renounces her. But Radam?s reiterates his decision. Amneris sees the priests go down to the dungeon to pronounce their sentence. Ac-cused of treason, desertion and abuse of the King’strust, Radam?s refuses to defend himself and is condemned to be buried alive. In despair, Amneris curses the priests.
On the upper floor, interior of the temple of Vulcan; on the lower floor, a dungeon
Two priests seal the dungeon in which Radam?s is entombed. In the darkness he hears a cry and glimpses a figure moving towards him. It isAida, who had crept in earlier, to die in the arms of her beloved. As the angel of death approaches, they bid farewell to earthly life and prepare for heaven. In the temple Amneris, in mourning, prays to Isis for Radam?s’s soul.