REVIEW: Aïda at Dubai Opera opening night

Giuseppe Verdi’s grand opera Aïda is an epic performance of a masterpiece

ART & CULTURE, Theatre

Celebrated Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi’s grandiose Aïda opened to a great reception last night, as couples filled Dubai Opera to watch the tragic love story unfold on Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps due to it being February 14, and the first night of this opera, it wasn’t a packed performance, but it was well attended.

The cast of strong vocalists delivered the deeply moving story with aplomb. And no more so than the title character, Aïda.

Her vocals are second to none. You’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat as she delivers achingly heartfelt solos – the pain and emotion that she conveys through her performance is nothing short of stunning.

The play, which is performed in four acts, opens with a deeply haunting scene – bodies strewn across the stage covered by a dark sheet that rolls back like mist to unveil the devastation beneath. And then the bodies arise, ghostly and mesmerising to begin the tale.

The ancient Egyptian setting lends itself to intricately designed backdrops, ornate statues and colourful costumes that dazzle with every flutter of each dancer. It’s visually spectacular. And the scenes that draw your gaze, combined with the vocals of the cast, leave you so entranced you might miss the surtitles translating the Italian telling of the story.

But try not to, because that story is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful one. It’s not difficult to follow, thanks to the emotive performances given by the entire cast, but in particular, the two leads Aïda and Radamès. Their powerful, long-held notes and graceful harmonies will stay with you long after the show ends.

It’s a tangled tale of forbidden love, loyalty and treason, and it’s executed with sheer skill. This is an epic performance where you’ll be transported visually as well as through song. Listen out for the famously recognisable Grand March and enjoy the wonderfully choreographed fight scene to which the music plays.

You have just three more days to see this performance – it’s on until Saturday February 17. Don’t miss it.

From Dhs550. 8pm. Until Feb 17. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.

You might also want to check out Carmen, which has just been announced as coming to Dubai Opera on September 6-8 – along with The Magic Flute, featuring classic Mozart compositions, a week later on September 13-15. You can pick up tickets for both shows at www.dubaiopera.com.

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