'Aida' brings big crowd to Met in HD series
Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Skills, thrills and chills are a few of the words that come to mind when one thinks of the Metropolitan Opera's grand production of one of Giuseppe Verdi's most renowned opera's - Aida - which was broadcast live at Carib 5 last Saturday as the Met's Live in HD series continues.
Verdi's immortal masterpiece in four acts unfolded before Carib's largest crowd since the first live transmission captivated viewers. The huge turnout for Aida speaks both to the opera's repute and also to the art form's growing popularity in Jamaica as Palace Amusement continues its alternative content initiative.
Aida is the most theatrically spellbinding production seen in the Live in HD repertoire thus far and possesses some of the most beautiful arias, choruses and compositions to have ever been produced.
The opera is clearly one of Verdi's greatest triumphs, as it is one of his most performed. Saturday's installation marked the 1,129th performance since it first mesmerised audiences in 1871.
A couple hundred performers were involved in the production on Saturday, along with a few animals. The massive stage props and backstage operations also required a large crew.
Though Verdi's score is powerful on its own and Antonio Ghislanzoni's libretto complements it well, what made Aida such an epic success was its performers.
Ukraine native Liudmyla Monastyrska was a breathtaking spectacle in the title role. Her pristine vocals was aural bliss and her excellent dramatic performance as the Ethiopian princess is a powerful show all on its own.
The Met did well in casting tenor Roberto Algana as Aida's love interest, Radames, as his solo performances - brimming with bravado and vocal mastery - were only matched by his duets with Monastyska.
A LOVE TRIANGLE
Aida is another one of Verdi's love triangles (which tend not to have a happy ending), and Olga Boradino as Amneris is the one whose love is gravely unrequited in this case.
The great dynamic between the three is a delight and makes their performances that much more captivating.
Aida was a triumph for the Met's Live in HD series but at the same time highlights an apparent famine of first-rate black opera singers as the production revolves around a war between Ancient Egypt and Ethiopia, and yet this was not reflected in the ethnicity of any of the leads.
George Gagnidze was even seen donning make-up to produce a more ethnically correct king of Ethiopia, Amonasro, Aida's father. Regardless of his unconvincing appearance, Gagnidze gave a powerful and noteworthy performance.
The Met's Live in HD series will continue next month, January 5, with Les Troyens - another massive production.