„There is no right life in the wrong.“
Aida, a slave, and Amneris, an Egyptian princess, are in love with the same man: Radames, whom the High Priest Ramfis and the King have designated to lead their army into war against Ethiopia. Radames dreams of returning victorious and being united with Aida. Amneris suspects Aida of being her rival. And so the story, written by Giuseppe Verdi in 1870 as a commission from the Egyptian vice king and following research on site, takes its course. If you strip this plot of everything that refers to Egypt, not much more than the mundane structure of a drama remains.
benefits less from its plot than from its opulent, even spectacular setting and trappings. Verdi serves up just about everything for which the “Land of the Pharaohs” is famous and infamous even today: royal palaces, temples, the waters of the River Nile, palms and colossal statues, kings, goddesses, temple singers and princesses, monumentality and archaism as far as the eye can see. Aida
, in other words, is more cliché-ridden than almost any other work in the history of opera – and therefore highly controversial. While some think of it as Verdi’s most “beautiful” opera with its flowery images, breath-taking melodies, rich choirs and popular hit numbers, others see it as the questionable relict of a time of colonialism, exoticism and cultural appropriation that drags on contemporary European culture like a burdensome millstone.
Director Kay Voges questions what is actually “real” about this popular opera, what the function of conspicuous imitation and “falseness” is in art, in the theatre – and why we need them. In a Mise en Scène-frame and using live video, he plays on our contemporary expectations of the work and on its – or our own – contradictions.