Ellen Kent’s Aida at the Liverpool Empire Review

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Reviewed by Jan Mellor

Verdi’s Aida – recently voted by the Liverpool Daily Post with the ‘Best Opera Award‘ starring the international French soprano Olga Perrier and the international soprano Alyona Kistenyova opened to an spectacular set of an Egyptian temple with idols and amazing costumes.

The first scene was in the Royal Palace where Radames longs to be the lead of the Egyptian forces, spurred on by his devotion for the slave girl Aida. Due to advancing Ethiopian troops Radames gets his position and is ordained at the temple of Vulcan by the High Priest Ramfis.

In Act 2 the Egyptian princess tests Aida’s love for Ramades by announcing that he has been killed and is bent on revenge when it is clear that she is in love with him. In the next scene Radames at the gate of Thebes (entering the stage on a wonderful real stallion – who, on leaving the stage, comically looks straight at the audience) is followed by a majestic Triumphal March, a remarkable performing fire dancer, exquisite young ballet dancers whose timing was perfection and cascades of glittering gold. He is offered any prize he chooses for his victory. Seeing Aida’s father in the line of prisoners he asks that the Ethiopian prisoners be freed and the king agrees only if Radames marries his daughter the princess Amneris.

Within the next act Ramades declaring his love for Aida is forced by her father Amonasro to disclose the Egyptian army plans but Ramades then saves the life of Amneris – as Amonasro tries to kill her.

The final act sees Radames on trial as a traitor and even though Amneris sends for him in her last attempt to save him – he declares his love for Aida and he is then trailed and is sentenced to be buried alive. The scene ends with Aida (who has hidden in the tomb) laying with her beloved and them dying in each other’s arms.   The dramatic setting on a blank wall curtain of Aida singing alone that appeared in each act was astounding and stunned the audience at each scene. What a talent she has!

Verdi’s Aidi was a joy to behold with exceptional and talented singing. The scenery was stunning and jaw-dropping and gave the theatre an exotic and mesmerising atmosphere. All performers on stage had great talent and it transported us all to another world. The Ellen Kent ensemble were exceptional. I can see how this wonderful opera gets its’ accolade and is a must for any opera fan.

Rating: 4/5

Ellen Kent’s Aida is currently on tour around the UK, for more information and tour dates visit www.ellenkent.com.

For other shows at the Liverpool Empire visit www.atgtickets.com/liverpool.

Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JE | 0844 8713017

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