The Teatro Real restores the production of “Aida” conceived in 1998 by Hugo de Ana
The official opening of the 2022-2023 Lyrical Season with Aida, on October 24 at 7:30 p.m., will feature the musical direction of conductors such as Nicola Luisotti, in addition to the return of Hugo de Ana as stage director. Three casts will bring together great Verdian voices at the Real, such as the soprano Anna Netrebko (Aida); mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton (Amneris); the tenors Piotr Beczala and Yusif Eyvazov (Radamés) and the baritone Carlos Álvarez, among others.
Between October 24 and November 14, 19 performances of Aida will be offered with the great production conceived by Hugo de Ana for the inauguration of the second season of the ‘new’ Teatro Real, in October 1998, which revealed to the public the enormous dimensions and the exceptional technical capabilities of its brand new stage.
The 8 performances at the time, directed by Luis Antonio García Navarro (1941-2001), joined the 353 that took place in the seasons prior to the closing of the theater in 1925. During that period, the popular Verdian title was the most represented in el Real, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) being the favorite composer of the Madrid public, as evidenced by his constant presence in the programming of each season (often with two titles) and the success of occupation in all his operas.
The Teatro Real looks, then, at its past and recent history through the revival of Aida as a symbolic self-tribute, after the success of this same production in the last 25 years of the Teatro Real.
With the premiere of Aida in Cairo, in 1871, Giuseppe Verdi, in his sixties and with 25 operas to his credit, apparently culminated a prolific career (which would later last until he was 80 years old), with a very effusive score, but also deep and intimate , in which recurring themes emerge in his work: the love triangle, the political and social background, the arrogance of dictators, the humiliation of the oppressed, father-son feelings, jealousy, forbidden love, betrayal, loneliness, death…
From a compositional point of view, Aida also reflects Verdi’s veteran: his mastery of vocal writing, ─privileging duets and ensemble numbers, to the detriment of arias─; the brilliant use of orchestration for dramatic effect; the juxtaposition of moments of recollection and splendor; and the skill in the articulation of great choral and choreographic numbers with inspired solo melodies, of great breath and deep drama.
It is precisely this duality between the spectacular nature of the mass scenes ─with the Egyptian empire, armies, pharaohs, slaves, priestesses, invaders, prisoners, religious rites, celebrations, etc.─ and those, collected, in which conflicts and dramas of the protagonists, where lies the difficulty of the staging of Aida.
Hugo de Ana opts for a production of strong symbolic power, dominated by a colossal pyramid that suggests the magnificence of political and religious power and also the love triangle that forms the backbone of the drama, contrasted with desert landscapes that emphasize the deep loneliness of the characters, who they are torn between feelings, doubts and contradictions.
For the current revival of Aida, Hugo de Ana has introduced small modifications in relation to the 2018 revision, updating some elements, such as the projections that have been conceived to transcend the evocation of an idealized Orient.
Three casts will alternate in the interpretation of the leading roles in Aida, with sopranos Krassimira Stoyanova, Maria Agresta, Roberta Mantegna and Anna Netrebko (Aida); mezzo-sopranos Jamie Barton, Sonia Ganassi and Ketevan Kemoklidze (Amneris); the tenors Piotr Beczala, Yusif Eyvazov and Jorge de León (Radamés); baritones Carlos Álvarez, Artur Ruciński and Gevorg Hakobyan (Amonasro) and basses Alexander Vinogradov; Jongmin Park and Simón Orfila (Ramfis); the sopranos Jaquelina Livieri and Marta Bauzá (The Great Priestess) and the tenor Fabián Lara (A Messenger).
With almost 300 artists ─including soloists, choir, dancers, actors and orchestra─ and an already historic set design, Aida will bring great performers to the stage of the Real, capable of giving Verdi’s work its true universal dimension.