Travelling from Israel to the US with my parents when I was sixteen, the logistics of flight arrangements led to a one day stop over in Milano. I had only one desire: to see something, anything, at La Scala. I was fortunate enough to hear an afternoon concert, but for years regretted that time and circumstance did not enable me to hear an opera that day. Although I did not hear an opera at La Scala, my wish will be fulfilled this week as La Scala Opera comes to the Israeli Opera to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv. Over 400 soloists, choristers, orchestra members and dancers will perform the Franco Zeffirelli production of Verdi’s Aida, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, chief conductor of La Scala.
Zeffirelli’s 1963 production of Aida is based on the original set and costume sketches created for the world premiere in Cairo in 1871, and the Italian premiere in La Scala one year later. The elegantly detailed, lush set is like a painting come to life. The visual richness of this performance is a sensual pleasure.
The cast features sopranos Violeta Rumana and Maria Jose Siri in the role of Aida, the Ethiopian princess who serves as a slave at the Egyptian court. Tenors Salvatore Licitra and Stuart Neil share the role of Radames, the Egyptian army officer who is in love with her, while Ekaterina Gubanova and Anna Smirnova complete the love triangle as Amneris, the Egyptian princess who is Aida’s mistress and loves Radames.
In addition to Aida, there will be a special open air concert of Verdi’s Requiem on July 16th at the Ganei Yehoshua park in Tel Aviv, featuring opera soloists: Italian soprano Adriana Damato, Italian mezzo soprano Luciana D’Intino, Italian tenor Guiseppe Filianoti and German bass singer Rene Pape in addition to 100 choristers and close to 100 musicians of the La Scala orchestra.
Friday, 17.7. at 13:00, Saturday 18.7 at 21:00, Monday 20.7 at 20:00
Tuesday, 21.7 at 20:00, Wednesday, 22.7 at 20:00
Info: www.israel-opera.co.il, 03-6927777
Image credit: Maxim Reider