Musical Director Antonino Fogliani
Stage Director Phelim McDermott
Ochestre de la Suisse Romande
Grand Théâtre Opera Chorus
Giuseppe Verdi’s dedication of his musical talent and fame to the cause of Italian unity had made him world famous. In 1869, the viceroy of – nominally Ottoman – Egypt made a point of building a grand opera house in Cairo and commissioned Verdi for a new work with an Egyptian theme for its opening. And so Aida came to be, an opera that takes place in a very recognizable but completely unhistoric Ancient Egypt. Aida, an Ethiopian prisoner of war, is lady-in-waiting to the Egyptian princess Amneris and in love with the conqueror of Ethiopia, general Radames, who is Amneris’ love interest. Radames, obviously, only has eyes for Aida, who is torn between her love for her country and her passionate desire for the Egyptian hero. British director Phelim McDermott designs a production with immediate visual references to images of military and civil funerals in the war zones of today and that does not seek to hide the true, lethal and disastrous nature of war. This is an Aida for Geneva, birthplace of the international conventions on humanitarian law, where the final sacrifice of Aida and Radames resolves itself in a cry of hope for peace.