Verdi's Aida returns to Luxor in October after 22 years

At Hatshepsut Temple in 150th anniversary year of Suez Canal

11 July, 17:40

    Verdi's Aida Verdi's Aida

    CAIRO - Three performances of the Giuseppe Verdi opera Aida are being planned at Luxor's Hatshepsut Temple for October 26-28, as celebrations continue for the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Suez Canal, an event to which the opera's composition is indirectly linked. Sources from the production told ANSA that the opera is returning to Luxor after 22 years.

    The performance of Aida, which is set in ancient Egypt, will be staged in the clearing in front of the funerary temple of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, denoted by a triple series of columns overlooking the spectacular vertical rocks of the Deir el-Bahari archaeological site on the western shore of the Nile River near the Valley of the Kings.

    After the pyramids, this site is likely the most evocative natural and appropriate setting for the popular opera.

    Production sources said a influx of 5,000 tourists is expected in one month, including "kings, presidents, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, and artists", without specifying names.

    The sources said there will be special discounts for tour operators.

    The genesis of the opera that tells the tragic love story between the Ethiopian slave Aida and the Egyptian leader Radames is tied to Ismail Pascià, the khedive of Egypt, who wanted to commission Verdi to compose an anthem to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.

    Verdi refused, saying he didn't write music for occasions, but he then composed Aida for the inauguration of the new theatre in Cairo, with its premiere in December 1871. A poster for the October performance in Luxor lists Korean soprano Sae Kyung Rim as the voice of Aida, with Belgian tenor Mickael Spadaccini in the role of Radames.

    The Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv will direct the orchestra.

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