by Giuseppe Verdi
ARENA DI VERONA
FESTIVAL LIRICO 2017
AIDA (1913) (Opera in 4 acts - Music by G. Verdi - Libretto by A. Ghislanzoni)
The history of the composition of Verdi's Aida is subject of various versions and discussions. We can certainly say that the Egiptian Chedivè Isma'il Pascià asked Verdi's help to realize an hymn to be presented at the opening of Suez
Canal in 1870, able to commemorate Ancient Egypt's atmospheres and the history of his people. Despite the king's generous offer, Verdi refused because he was not able to "compose music for occasions".
The king also got in touch with the French Camille du Locle and Auguste Mariette, a librettist and an egyptologist, founder of Il Cairo's Egyptian Museum.
Mariette dealt with the subject, while ensuring that all the historical informations were consistent, and du Locle wrote the book, turning ideas into prose. When Camille du Locle presented the transcription to Verdi, he was so
enthusiastic, that he decided to compose the Aida.
They therefore decided to present it to the public at the opening of Khediviail Opera Theater in Cairo, and should have taken place in 1870. Actually all costumes and sets, which had been
created in Paris, could not arrive to Egypt, because of city's siege during the Franco-Prussian War. Cairo's Theater was opened with Rigoletto, another Verdi's opera.
The premiere of Aida was staged on the 24th of December 1871 and was
immediatly a great success. Verdi was not there but awarded the title of "Commander of the Ottoman Empire". Camille du Locle then helped Antonio Ghislanzoni, who was working at the italian libretto. After his translation the opera
was staged at Teatro La Scala di Milano on the 8th of February 1872, conducted by Franco Faccio.
The Aida remains one of Verdi's most known operas and the most popular in his compositions. It is usually represented in Arena di Verona in a spectacular scenery.
The opera is back in the Arena during 2017 Lyrical Season, in its original 1913 version. On August the 10th 1913, tenor Giovanni Zenatello and entrepreneur Ottone Rovato decided to propose Aida for the first time
in the Arena, in occasion of Verdi's birth 100 years.
The production of the opera was entrusted to architect Ettore Fagiuoli, who studied meticulously all Cairo's 1871 settings, thanks also to the previous supervision of
Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.
The direction, signed by Gianfranco de Bosio will repropose in full the original set designings.