It’s a great time to give opera a go

A glorious pageant from the Metropolitan Opera staging of Aida.
A glorious pageant from the Metropolitan Opera staging of Aida.

Going to the opera for the first time may not have been on your New Year’s resolutions list, but it’s not too late to add it and the timing couldn’t be better. Why? Because the granddaddy of grand operas – Aida – will be presented by Manitoba Opera at the Centennial Concert Hall for three performances April 13, 16, and 19.

One of the best known operas of all time, Aida is opera in all its glory. With a love triangle set against a war between nations, the opera features thrilling arias and ensembles, triumphant choruses, ballet and grand pageantry.

Aida is the unforgettable tale of two doomed lovers in ancient Egypt. After the Egyptians defeat her people, the captured Ethiopian princess, Aida, is forced to become a slave to Amneris, daughter of the Egyptian king. When she falls in love with Radames, leader of the Egyptian forces, Aida must choose between her devotion to him and her duty to her people.

Commissioned by the Khedive (viceroy) of Egypt to celebrate the opening of Egypt’s Suez Canal and first performed in Cairo in 1871, Aida was composed by the unparalled Italian composer, Giuseppe Verdi. Considered one of the greatest opera composers of all time, with Aida. Verdi has created a score that provides both pomp and pageantry, as well as great intimacy. The monumental and the exquisitely delicate live side by side in this opera.

Aida is a favourite showpiece for singers, and Manitoba Opera’s Aida production boasts a stellar cast of internationally renowned artists. In the role of Aida is Canadian soprano Michele Capalbo who has been described by the Metropolitan Opera’s Opera News as “perform[ing] a world-class Aida, passionate, subtle and vocally satisfying.”

Puerto Rican tenor, Rafael Davila will sing the role of Radames and the Italian mezzo-soprano, Tiziana Carraro will sing Amneris. This is the first time either artist has appeared with the company.

The incomparable Phil Ens, who hails from Manitoba, will be featured in the role of Ramfis, the high priest. Former Winnipegger, baritone Gregory Dahl will be making his role debut as Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia and Aida’s father.

Aida will be sung in Italian with projected English translations.

Never been to the opera? It’s really not intimidating. Here’s a quick guide.

What to wear: People wear all varieties of clothing, from jeans to formal attire.

What to expect: Going to the opera is much the same as going to any concert or performing arts event.

Venue: Mainstage productions are performed at the Centennial Concert Hall, 555 Main St. across from City Hall.

Show length: Aida is three hours long with two intermissions.

Enhance your experience: take in some of the free audience events such as the pre-show chat which occurs a half-hour before curtain time. You can borrow CDs, DVDs, and books from Manitoba Opera. The Manitoba Opera website (see below) features information on the production, including the story synopsis, so you can read it before the show.

Don’t speak Italian? English translations are projected above the stage so you can follow along.

For tickets and more information, go to http://www.manitobaopera.mb.ca or call the box office at 204-944-8824 (Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Seniors, students, and children’s rates are available.

One thought on “It’s a great time to give opera a go”

  1. It’s great that you’re encouraging people to give opera a try! However, please don’t encourage them to wear jeans to the opera house…I cringe.

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