Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, October 13, 1998 Published at 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK


World: Middle East

Aida comes home

About 3,000 watched the spectacular opening night of Aida

Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida is being performed against the spectacular backdrop of the Giza pyramids for the first time in more than a decade.


The BBC's Jim Muir assesses the new production
The opera is staged annually in Egypt but the love story which tells of a slave girl and an Egyptian commander has returned to its spiritual home near the capital following last year's performance at Luxor.

It was announced in 1997 that the opera would be staged at Luxor every October but less than a month after last autumn's performance Islamic radicals launched an attack on Hatshepsut Temple visitors, killing 58 tourists and four Egyptians.

The massacre led to an overnight collapse of the Egyptian tourist industry.

There have been no further attacks, and visitors are returning to the historic country, but it was decided to move the opera back to its birth place at Cairo where it was first performed in 1871.

A cast of international and local singers performed beneath the floodlit pharaonic monuments at the opening night on Monday.


[ image: The production has cost nearly $3m]
The production has cost nearly $3m
Hundreds of security personnel were stationed around the site to protect the guests, who included the wife of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the crown prince of Denmark.

More than 1,000 artists, workers and security men were involved in the spectacular production, which cost nearly $3m.

Aida is a classic tale of love, jealousy, betrayal and death. It tells the story of the princess of Egypt who is in love with Radames, the commander of the Egyptian army which is fighting Ethiopia. Radames is in love with Aida, the daughter of the Ethiopian king.

'Thrill beyond belief'

The opera will be performed nightly beneath the floodlit pyramids until 17 October.

One of the three singers playing the opera's title role, Leona Mitchell, said: "I've sung this opera all over the world and just to be in the correct place where the opera has been written is to me a thrill beyond belief."

Aida's Director, Abdel Meneim Kamel, said there were plans to expand the 3,020-seat theatre at the pyramids plateau to hold as many as 6,000 people in 1999 and up to 12,000 in 2000.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

17 Nov 97 | World
Tourists massacred at temple

31 Jul 98 | Middle East
Proof of paupers' pyramids

19 Oct 98 | Middle East
Police chiefs sacked over Luxor massacre





Internet Links


Classical Insites: Giuseppi Verdi

Egypt State Information Service

Nova Online: Pyramids - The Inside Story


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Iraq oil-for-food aid extended

Israel demands soccer sex scandal inquiry

Israeli PM's plane in accident

Jordan police stop trades unionists prayers

New Israeli raid in southern Lebanon

New demand over PLO terror list

Earthquake hits Iran

New UN decision on Iraq approved

Algerian president pledges reform