Oct. 24, 2012 - Issue #888: Winter Guide 2012
Aida reviewTo simply call Aida 'big' is missing the point. It's big in the way that opera's soul is, the way it's really, truly intended to be: a colossal pageant of massive sets, huge choral backing and a spread of powerful featured voices in its keystone roles. This is the genre in its element, and Edmonton Opera delivers a spanning spectacle in its take on that—this Aida is captial-O opera, big, pure, unapologetic.
The potential drawback to that size, is of course, painting in broad strokes. But threading their way through a doomed love affair between Egypt's defender Radamés and the titular enslaved princess (their love offset by Amneris, princess, who also pines for Radamés), the show's central casting proves capable of drawing out the necessary depth. Angela Brown's Aida finds a rich emotional spectrum in her spiralling romance, while Carl Tanner's voice is brazen and crisp, imbuing his Radamés with polished golden pipes. Elena Bocharova too, as Amneris, gives her antagonistic point of the love triangle some deeper shades than simply that of a villain.
Around their impressive voices—and those of the choruses and other major cast members—the big expanse of design rises, matching the aural buffet with a visual one. Most of the action takes place before the eyeless gaze of a giant stone head. Brian Webb dancers peform ritualistic routines thought, and the famed triumphal march is indeed just that, a glorious parade of the spoils of war.
The whole structure pivots on its sense of ritual and worship mysticism. We start with a prayer to the Gods, and though they ultimately remain silent to the most desperate pleas placed upon them here, watching the scenario play out in a world as full-realized as this makes for a rewarding spectacle.
Directed by Dejan Miladinovic
Jubilee Auditorium vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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