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Princesses, pharaohs and pyramids

Romance, tragedy and Egyptian intrigue are intertwined in Arizona Opera Company’s production of ‘Aida.’


Citizen Music Critic

Ancient Egypt is glorified this week in Arizona Opera Company’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s ”Aida.”

Set in Memphis and Thebes in the days of the pharaohs, the opera recounts the tale of the beautiful Ethiopian princess Aida, enslaved in Egypt. She is in love with Radames, head of the Egyptian army, who is about to do battle with her father. But Amneris, the daughter of the Egyptian king, is also in love with Radames and manipulates things to have him marry her. Feeling her allegiance to her father and homeland, Aida begs Radames to run off to Ethiopia with her. In the end, the plot is uncovered, and Radames is buried alive in a temple with Aida, who sneaks in to join him for eternity.

AOC’s production will feature Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony under conductor Willie Anthony Waters, music director of Connecticut Opera.

Bernard Uzan, general director and artistic director of L’Opera de Montreal, serves as stage director and set designer.

Sharing the title role are Priscilla Baskerville and Leslie Morgan.

Baskerville has been a regular at the Metropolitan and Cologne operas. Morgan last wowed crowds here in the title role of AOC’s production of Tosca and as Sieglinde in Arizona Opera’s Ring cycle.

Tonio di Paolo and Peter Riberi are cast as Radames. The former appears frequently with Austin Lyric Opera and Calgary Opera. The latter recently made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Verdi’s ”Stiffelio,” which was nationally televised on ”Live from Lincoln Center.”


• What: Arizona Opera Company’s production of ”Aida.”

• When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15-16.

• Where: Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave.

• How much: Tickets are $17-$67 through Dillard’s outlets and the AOC’s Web site (www.azopera.com/).

PHOTO: SHARA R. WELLS/Tucson Citizen

Leslie Morgan (Aida) and Peter Riberi (Radames) rehearse for Arizona Opera Company’s production of ”Aida.”

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