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Aida: Giuseppe Verdi - Teatro Alla Scala (1986)
Starring: Paata Burchuladze, Maria Chiara, Ghena Dimitrova, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Pons
Director: Derek Bailey
Category: Music, Special Interest
Studio: Image Ent.
160 mins



Aida / Verdi / Teatro Alla Scala

This magnificent production of Verdi's much-loved masterpiece was a triumphant success when it opened at La Scala in December 1985, and Luciano Pavarotti's long-awaited performance as Radames - his first in Italy - was greeted with rapturous applause. In this live recording of that same production, Pavarotti heads an exceptional cast with Ghena Dimitrova, Maria Chiara, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Paata Burchuladze and Juan Pons all in peak form. Lorin Maazel's reading of the score shows a rare understanding of Verdi's music.

Verdi wrote Aida in response to a request by the Khedive of Egypt for an opera with authentic Egyptian flavor to open the Cairo Opera House in 1871. The opera's appeal was immediate and lasting with this production capturing perfectly the imposing grandeur of the land of the pharaohs and the ochre hues of the desert. It is an ideal setting for the magnificent spectacle of the opera, which combines so consummately with the drama of human emotion, played out in Radames's love for the slave girl Aida and the jealousy of Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian king.