Saturday, February 25, 2012

Verdi's "Aida" Hits Royal Albert Hall in London

"'Set amid the ruins of ancient Egypt,' promised the fliers. The impresario Raymond Gubbay has achieved many feats in his 45 years in showbiz but transporting the city of Thebes or the Temple of Vulcan to the Royal Albert Hall is not yet one. But he's had a darned good try in his latest opera-in-the-round blockbuster, Verdi's Aida, directed by Stephen Medcalf and designed by Isabella Bywater, which opened to a packed Royal Albert Hall last Thursday....In the first of three casts the Italianate-sounding American Marc Heller, making his UK operatic debut as Radames, was alone in seeing the point of vowels and consonants. He scaled 'Celeste Aida' with assurance and acted with the right kind of arms-akimbo gestures needed for this space. In the title role of the Ethiopian slave girl, Indra Thomas was sympathetic and looked magnificent but was off form vocally, struggling with top notes throughout. Claire Rutter and Catrin Aur, both strong performers, share the role for remaining performances. Some of the cameo roles were well taken and musical standards otherwise were high." [Source]

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