02.03.2018 - 11.04.2018 | 19:00 | Prague National Theatre
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi
Radamès, captain of the royal guard, learns from Ramfis, the Egyptian head priest, that the Ethiopians are gathering ready to attack the border of Egypt. Radamès hopes that the King will chose him to lead the Egyptian army so that if he wins he will obtain the freedom of his beloved Aida, the Ethiopian slave of the King`s daughter Amneris.
Amneris, who is also in love with Radamès, appears with Aida. The presence of Aida has an effect on Radamès which the jealous Princess Amneris does not fail to notice.
Meanwhile the King enters and is informed that the Ethiopian king Amonasro is already marching against Thebes with his army.
Radamès is named leader of the Egyptian army; his appointment is greeted by a hymn wishing him victory. Aida herself hopes for Radamès` victory even though this would mean the defeat of her own people and, more importantly, of the Ethiopian King, her father Amonasro. In the temple of Vulcan, the priests invoke Fthà, creator of the universe and, whilst the priestesses perform religious dances, Ramfis hands the sacred arms to Radamès.
After defeating Amonasro, Radamès returns to Thebes where he is given a triumphant reception. Amneris is waiting for him, of course, still suspicious of Aida`s feelings and anxious that the girl might take away the man she loves. To discover the truth she tricks Aida, telling her that Radamès has died in battle.
At this news Aida cannot hold back her tears. Amneris is now sure that her slave loves Radamès and receives further confirmation when she confesses that she has lied: Radamès is alive and Aida cannot hide her joy as she kneels down to thank the gods.
The two women are now rivals. Aida begs for mercy, since love is the only thing she has left. Amneris, mad with jealousy, threatens her and reminds her of her strength and superiority as Daughter of the Pharaohs.
Aida would like to reveal to Amneris that she is really a princess. She invokes the gods, pleading for peace in her tormented soul, then follows Amneris as she goes to participate in the triumph of Radamès who is now entering Thebes amid an immense crowd saluting the return of the army with its Ethiopian prisoners.
Among the prisoners there is also Amonasro, who claims to be Aida`s father; he manages to hide the fact that he is the king, saying that he saw the king die heroically in the field. Amonasro implores mercy for all the prisoners and his request is seconded by Radamès who thus claims the prize offered him for victory.
Ramfis at first opposes the request since it might be dangerous to free all the prisoners. Radamès, however, insists: the enemy can no longer do them any harm for their king is dead.
Ramfis then suggests that all the Ethiopians be freed except for Aida and her father who will be held as hostages. The King of Egypt accedes and decides to give Radamès one further reward; he offers him the hand of his daughter Amneris and names him as his successor to the throne.
Amneris is happy now. There are songs and dances of joy. Radamès does not wish to renounce his true love, Aida weeps and Amonasro thinks of vengeance.
Amneris goes to the temple with Ramfis to prepare for her wedding while Aida awaits Radamès on the banks of the Nile for what she thinks will be a final farewell. Aida weeps for her homeland but then Amonasro appears and tells her that she will see the forests of Ethiopia again since the army is regrouping. He asks his daughter to find out from Radamès what path the Egyptian army will take so as to be able to destroy it in an ambush.
Aida listens to her father who describes to her their country destroyed by the Egyptian army, without his help. After long hesitation she decides to help him and when Radamès arrives, having decided to reveal to the King his love for Aida, she convinces him to flee with her. As they are leaving Aida asks Radamès the terrible question `What road shall we take to avoid the Egyptian army?`. Radamès answers without a moment`s hesitation, telling her that the gorge of Napata will be deserted throughout the night.
In his hiding place Amonasro exults as he hears this, but Amneris, coming out of the temple, has also heard everything and denounces the traitors to Ramfis and all the priests.
Amneris desires to save Radamès (L`aborrita rivale a me sfuggia / `My hated rival has escaped me`). She calls for the guard to bring him to her.
She asks Radamès to deny the accusations, but Radamès refuses. Certain that, as punishment, he will be condemned to death, Amneris implores him to defend himself, but Radamès firmly refuses. He is relieved to know Aida is still alive and hopes she has reached her own country (Amneris, Radamès: Già i Sacerdoti adunansi / `Already the priests are assembling`). His decision hurts Amneris.
Radamès` trial takes place offstage; he does not reply to Ramfis` accusations and is condemned to death, while Amneris, who remains onstage, pleads with the priests to show him mercy. As he is sentenced to be buried alive, Amneris curses the priests while Radamès is taken away (Judgment scene, Amneris, Ramfis, and chorus: Ahimè! .. morir mi sento / `Alas ... I feel death`).
Radamès has been taken into the lower floor of the temple and sealed up in a dark vault, where he thinks that he is alone. As he hopes that Aida is in a safer place, he hears a sigh and then sees Aida. She has hidden herself in the vault in order to die with Radamès (Radamès and Aida: La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse. / `The fatal stone now closes over me`). They accept their terrible fate (Radamès: Morir! Si pura e bella / `To die! So pure and lovely!`) and bid farewell to Earth and its sorrows. Above the vault in the temple of Vulcan, Amneris weeps and prays to the goddess Isis. In the vault below, Aida dies in Radamès` arms. (Chorus, Aida, Radamès, Amneris: Immenso Ftha / `Almighty Ptah.`)