The next live high-definition simulcast from the New York Metropolitan Opera is the production of Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida," starting at 10:55 a.m. on Saturday in the Eileen & Paul Finkel Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.The background story is one of triumph and tragedy. The young warrior Radams, in a spectacular opening scene, is commissioned by the High Priest of Egypt to protect his country from the impending invasion by the barbaric Ethiopians. The plot immediately becomes complicated as Radams sings the famous aria, "Celeste Aida," expressing his love for the slave girl Aida. Aida happens to be Ethiopian, and is in exile as a servant to the Egyptian Princess Amneris, who seeks the love of Radams for herself. Tension builds within this love triangle as the opera proceeds, with Amneris attempting to learn the true feelings between Aida and Radams. In Act II, following the defeat of the Ethiopians, in the spectacular triumphal scene with a full chorus of Egyptian citizens, Radams is crowned with the victor's wreath. The Egyptian king also announces the upcoming marriage of Radams to Princess Amneris. Captured Ethiopians are then led in, among whom is their king, Amonasro, who Aida immediately recognizes as her father.In Act III, along the banks of the Nile, Aida sings the famous soprano aria, "O patria mia," reminiscent of the longing for her homeland. Her father Amonasro appears and convinces her to learn from Radams the route the Egyptian troops will take in quelling a new Ethiopian uprising. By carrying out this plot, however, they ensure that Radams will face tragedy. The role of Aida is sung by Liudmyla Monastyrska, a native of Kiev, Ukraine, where she is an established star. Her singing is characterized as "a luscious round soprano that maintains its glow even in the softest notes," particularly expressed in her solo, "O patria mia," according to New York Times' music reviewer Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. Her rival, Amneris, is sung by Olga Borodina. "Her astonishingly powerful, almost masculine low notes seem to come out of an instrument different from that of the rest of her range, and she used them to bully Aida in their confrontations," said da Fonseca-Wollheim. The Met orchestra, under Fabio Luisi, effectively performs with flexibility in reflecting the ever-changing psychological turmoil of the characters.Among all the operas in the current repertoire, Aida continues to dazzle audiences and remain one of the most charismatic operas while serving as an ideal introduction for those new to this art form. The memorable solo and choral renditions, incredible background orchestration, and spectacular use of costuming and stage setting create an experience not to be missed. Aida is sure to delight the senses of all ages of audience members.Prior to the production, a 30-minute opera preview and open discussion will be held at Colorado Mountain College at 10:15 a.m. Food and beverages will be served during intermission.
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