Verdi’s 1871 masterful, perfect, operatic tragedy possesses everything…a libretto that covers intense love; jealousy; intrigue; angst and martyrdom. It begs for grandiose settings that excite audiences & cast; plus, some of the most memorable and challenging arias & themes in the genre. This (recuperating) old fan has seen AIDA in formats that range from the über-elaborate to a rather creative vocal-quartet suite. I admit to enjoying all of them.
Last night’s BROTT FESTIVAL interpretation was presented somewhere just right-of-centre. No props, sets or costumes, but as the maestro told me…it’s all about the music! The N.A.O.; the Arcady Singers and six amazing voices still managed to express the very essence of love, anguish and self-sacrifice.
Sharon Azrieli sang the title role in a mellow yet emotional manner. Underscoring her torments with exaggerated body language, she adequately conveyed being on the fulcrum of diverse feelings. The opening power aria in which David Pomeroy’s Radames sings of his “Celeste Aida” raised this scribes neck hairs. Our heroine’s captured father- Amonasro was somewhat less than convincing as Gregory Dahl seemed to be reining in his usually dynamic & rich baritone.
The support role of princess Amneris is one of opera’s most demanding. Vocal ability, certainly intrinsic, but thespian ability is essential and fundamental. Giving a yeoman interpretation; Emilia Boteva was so convincing that the opera could have been titled after her character. All of the soloists including the minor support roles co-opted from Arcady took a few liberties with their individual range extremes, but they; Brott & company still captured the quintessential lifeblood and message that Verdi instilled in his magnum opus. The vehicle of utilizing screen projections of the celebratory dance sequence and especially the elongated Triumphal March scene was both artistically superlative and certainly enhanced the whole scenario. What a super way for your humble scribe to start on his road to recovery.
Aside to Giuseppe Verdi (aka Aubrey Boothman), It WAS me that corrected aloud your mispronunciation of ‘Amneris’.
Finally, a public admittance: – back in 2004 when Gaisin & muse were avid supporters of the now defunct Royal Opera Canada, I offered myself as a supernumerary (spear carrier). Director Dwight Bennett rejected me. Too short and too awkward!!!!