St. Louis Public Radio will carry the Met Opera broadcast of Giuseppe Verdi's Aidi on their HD channel, KWMU-3 beginning at 12 noon. Approximate running time 3 hours, 40 minutes, with intermissions at approximately 12:40 p.m. and 1:50 p.m.
Matthew Baird of the CBC's Radio 2 reports:
If you like to indulge in the grandest of the grand operas, Verdi's passionate portrayal of love in ancient Egypt is for you.In a review in the February 10, 2012, review in the New York Times, Vivien Schweitzer said:
Imagine walking in Aida's shoes (or sandals!). As a low-born slave, you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place. Should you side with your handsome and powerful lover, a general with the Royal household? Or do you remain loyal to your family roots, and protect your father who is leading a rebellion against the King? And what to do about the pesky Princess who has her eye on the very man you love? That's your predicament to ponder as you follow the story of Aida, in the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season.
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida was written for the opening of the Cairo Opera House, and premiered there in 1871. The composer missed the debut though, as he was already overseeing rehearsals for the work's Italian premiere at La Scala in Milan. Critics at both openings were lukewarm, but the public loved the spectacle, the rousing choruses, the memorable melodies and the whole sense of pomp and circumstance.
Plus, of course, there's the love story. Starring in the Met's production of this evergreen opera is Violeta Urmana as Aida, the enslaved Ethiopian princess. Tenor Marcello Giordani sings the role of the heroic general Radamès, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is the Egyptian princess Amneris, Aida’s rival. Lado Ataneli portrays Aida’s rebellious father, Amonasro, and James Morris is Ramfis, high priest of the Egyptians. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is led by Marco Armiliato.
One of the most manipulative moments in opera occurs in Act II of Verdi’s Aida, when the jealous Princess Amneris tricks Aida into revealing her love for the warrior Radamès.
The mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who made her house role debut as Amneris when the Metropolitan Opera’s grand production returned for the first performance of the season on Thursday, sang with a luminous sweetness while manipulating Aida, her voice taking on a more steely tone after learning that her slave is her rival in love.
Ms. Blythe offered a nuanced psychological portrayal that traced Amneris’s evolution from a spoiled princess frustrated that she can’t have what she wants to a more mature woman, vulnerable and heartbroken. While not always sounding entirely idiomatic in the role (a relatively new one in her repertory), her huge voice was powerful and alluring, audible even over the orchestra and chorus in Act II. She nailed the high notes in the Judgment Scene with confidence.