Like many of Verdi’s operas, Aida has a reputation for being a rousing blockbuster and is often performed in large outdoor arenas, such as Verona in Italy, on an epic scale.
Ellen Kent’s touring production can’t match that grandeur. But the more intimate scale brings into focus the human relationships in what is essentially a story of love, jealousy, revenge and remorse.
It also accentuates the delicacy and variety of Verdi’s score.
This was most striking in the spirited and impassioned performance of French soprano Olga Perrier as the eponymous tragic heroine, the contrast of her piano and forte singing poignantly conveying Aida’s plight.
Mezzo Liza Kadelnik as the Egyptian Princess Amneris – the opera’s ‘baddy’ – also has a beguiling and richly toned voice, though her lower range was at times difficult to discern over the orchestra.
Former military pilot, Vitalii Liskovetskyi was a suitably heroic Radames and his singing improved as the evening progressed.
Among the cast of extras were youngsters from local theatre and dance schools whose moment in the spotlight clearly charmed the audience.
An impressive flame juggler added to the spectacle.
Alas, though, there was no ‘magnificent black stallion’ as at other venues on the tour.