Aida (1871) is one of Verdi’s greatest pieces. An exotic plot, based on an ancient Egyptian legend, beautiful melodies, inimitable Oriental flavour — all this makes this opera special among Verdi’s other operas. There is a lot of decorative splendor, brightness and colours in Aida. Extensive ensembles and massive crowd scenes, solemn marches and ballet numbers make this piece one of the “grand opera” genre.
The love story is set amidst the Egyptian pharaoh’s fight against the Ethiopians. Radames, a brave Egyptian warrior, is in love with Aida, the Ethiopian king’s daughter, who is now a slave to the Pharaoh. But Radames has to marry Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter. Amneris takes revenge on Radames for her unrequited love and gives him to the priests’ judgment. Radames is sentenced to a terrible execution – to be buried alive in a dungeon. Aida joins Radames in the dungeon to die with him.