Aida: Synopsis, Character Map

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Aida: Summary

Aida, an Ethiopian slave, and Radamès, an Egyptian general, are secretly in love. Amneris, the Egyptian princess, is in love with Radamès and suspects their relationship. Aida hides her identity as Princess of Ethiopia.

Amneris

If you like any other woman than me, I won’t let you get away with it!

Egypt goes to battle with Ethiopia. Radamès became its commander.

Ethiopia is defeated and Aida’s father is taken, prisoner. On Aida’s father’s orders, Aida extracts military secrets from Radamès.

Aida

Which road should we take to escape? Aren’t there armed soldiers all over the place?

Radamès

The valley of Napata will be uninhabited until tomorrow to attack the enemy.

Radamès’ betrayal of his country is revealed. The trial of the priests results in the death penalty for Radamès. Aida, anticipating Radamès’ execution, waits at his tomb. The deaths of Radamès and Aida.

Aida: Character Map

Aida: Character Map・HatsuOpera
Aida: Character Map

Aida: Roles

AidaSlave, Princess of Ethiopiasoprano
AmnerisPrincess of Egyptmezzo-soprano
RadamèsCaptain of the Guardtenor
AmonasroKing of Ethiopiabaritone
RamfisHigh Priestbass
The King of Egyptbass
  • Native title: Aida
  • Composers: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Librettist: Antonio Ghislanzoni
  • Language: Italian
  • Premiere: December 24, 1871, Khedivial Opera House, Cairo
  • Running time: 2 hours 25 minutes (Act 1: 40 minutes, Act 2: 45 minutes, Act 3: 30 minutes, Act 4: 30 minutes)

Aida: Act1

Scene1

The Hall of the Royal Palace in Memphis

Radamès and the Egyptian chief priest are in a hall overlooking the temple and pyramids of Memphis.

Ramfis
It looks like Ethiopia is going to invade. The goddess of Isis will choose the supreme commander of the Egyptian army.

Radamès

Those who are chosen are lucky.

Ramfis
The young and brave will be chosen.

Ramfis leaves.

Radamès

If I am chosen as the supreme commander of the Egyptian army, I will fight bravely. I will win the victory and I will take Aida as my wife.

Pure Aida. I want to put the royal crown on your hair. I want you to sit on the throne of the sun.

Celeste Aida

Amneris walks into the hall of the royal palace.

Amneris

I can see the joy in your gaze. What beautiful woman makes your heart flutter?

Quale insolita gioia nel tuo sguardo

Radamès

I had a lucky dream. If I were to be chosen as the supreme commander of the Egyptian army…

Amneris

I thought you had sweeter dreams.

Radamès

Do you think I’m having a sweet dream?

Oh, no. My secret love for Aida will be exposed.

Amneris

If you like any other woman than me, I won’t let you get away with it!

A sad-looking Aida comes into the hall. Radamès immediately recognizes Aida and is very upset.

Amneris

Radamès is upset when he sees Aida! She’s my rival?

Come here. Ida, I think of you as my sister. Tell me the reason for your tears.

Vieni, o diletta, appressati

Aida

I’m an Ethiopian and I’m crying for my country, which is going to war.

I do not shed tears only for my homeland. I also shed tears for my unhappy love.

Radamès

There is anger and suspicion on Amneris’s face. It would be terrible if she found out about my secret love affair with Aida.

The King of Egypt and his soldiers enter the hall.

The King of Egypt
The messenger from the border has arrived.

The messenger
Egypt has been invaded by Ethiopians. They have already reached Thebes. The Ethiopian army is led by Amonasro.

The King of Egypt
An Ethiopian king leading an army!

Aida

That’s my father.

The messenger
In Thebes, they are already preparing for battle.

The King of Egypt
The goddess Isis chose Radamès to be the supreme commander of the Egyptian army.

Radamès

Thank the gods.

Amneris

I am delighted he has been elected commander.

Aida

My father and Radamès are going to fight!

The King of Egypt
Go to the temple, Radamès. Pray for victory.

Radamès

Thank the gods. Let us fight for victory.

All
Fight! Fight! Exterminate the invaders!

Amneris

Come back with a win!

All
Come back with a win!

As the people leave to prepare for battle, Aida is left alone in the hall.

Aida

“Come back with a win!” These were the terrible words that came out of my mouth. How could Radamès and my father fight? My sinister love will bring death to me.

Ritorna vincitor

Scene2

Temple to the God of Fire

The Egyptian chief priest, Ramfis, and his priestesses perform the rituals.

The priestesses
Almighty God, God who gives life to the world. Let us pray to you.

Immenso, immenso Fthà, del mondo

The priests
O God, who created the sea, the earth, and the sky out of nothing. We pray to you!

Radamès stands in front of the altar and receives the sword.

Radamès

O god, protect Egypt!

Aida: Act2

Scene1

The Amneris Room at Thebes

The Egyptian army is victorious. Amneris is preparing to attend the victory ceremony. She calls out to Aida.

Amneris

I can’t help having an abominable suspicion when I see this woman.

Aida, I’m sorry to hear about your country. But don’t hide anything from me. Didn’t you suffer because your homeland and Egypt fought each other?

Fate has been cruel to some. A capable commander, Radamès, was killed in battle.

Fu la sorte dell’armi a’tuoi funesta

Aida

I will mourn and weep forever.

Amneris

I knew you loved Radamès! Radamès is still alive. Pharaoh’s daughter is your rival.

Aida

You are my love rival! Well, if you say so, then I suppose I am!

Oh, how I have said it. Have mercy. I love Radamès with immeasurable love. You are happy and powerful. I have nothing to rely on but my love for him.

Amneris

Tremble, and wait for my revenge!

You will now join me in the celebrations. I’ll be on the throne and you’ll be prostrate. You will know. You will know if you can really fight me!

Aida

Have mercy.

Scene2

The grand gate of the city of Thebes

All
Glory to Egypt, glory to the God of Isis. To the God who protects the Holy Land. To the King who rules the Delta. Glory to him!

Gloria all’Egitto, ad Iside

Women
Let the lotus and laurel decorate the hair of the victor. Let the flowers be scattered on the weapons. The daughters of Egypt dance a mystical dance.

The Egyptian army marches in front of the King. Then the dancers enter with the spoils of war.

Radamès appears.

The King of Egypt
O Savior of my country! I will give you a crown from my daughter. I will give you a prize. I will grant you whatever you wish.

Radamès

First of all, please allow us to bring the Ethiopian prisoners of war here before you.

Ethiopian prisoners of war are brought to us. One of the prisoners is Aida’s father.

Aida

That man is my father.

Che veggo!… Egli!… Mio padre!

Amonasro

Aida, do not reveal my identity.

I am the father of this girl. As you can see from this soldier’s clothes, he fought for his country and his king. If the love of country is a crime, then we are sinners. I am ready to die.

But, O King! I ask you to be merciful. For today we are defeated by fate, but tomorrow you may be the one to lose.

Ethiopian prisoners of war
We ask you, O King of Egypt, to have mercy on us. May our suffering not be inflicted on you.

Ramfis
Do not listen to them, O king. They are cruel. The gods have brought death to them. It has already been decided by God.

Aida

We ask you, O King, to have mercy on us. May our suffering not be inflicted on you.

Radamès

Aida’s face is beautiful in her grief.

Amneris

Radamès is looking at Aida.

Radamès

O king, you have sworn to grant me my wish. For the sake of the Ethiopian prisoners of war, I ask for their lives and their freedom.

All
Death to the enemies of the fatherland!

Ramfis
O king, O Radamès! They are enemies. And they have vengeance in their hearts. They will take up arms again.

Radamès

The king of Ethiopia is already dead. There is no hope for them.

Ramfis
If you are so sure, leave Aida’s father in Egypt as a guarantee.

The King of Egypt
I will follow your advice, O chief priest.

Radamès, I give you Amneris as a reward. Amneris and Radamès are to be married. They will rule the country.

Amneris

Aida, if you dare to take Radamès from me, do it.

Aida

For Radamès, glory, and thrones. For me, oblivion and tears.

Radamès

A thunderbolt has struck me. The throne of Egypt is not worth as much as the heart of Aida.

Amneris

I am drunk with unexpected joy. The dream of my heart is coming true.

Amonasro

Pull yourself together, Aida. You must bring joy to Ethiopia. The time for revenge is near.

All
Glory to Egypt, glory to the God of Isis.

Aida: Act3

On the banks of the Nile

On a moonlit night, a boat comes out of the Nile. From the boat come Amneris, the chief priests, the priestesses, and the guards.

The priestesses
O Mother and Wife of Osiris, O Goddess!

O tu che sei d’Osiride

Ramfis
Amneris, go to the temple and offer the wedding prayer.

Amneris

I pray that Radamès will love me as I love him.

They all go into the temple.

Aida comes to look around.

Aida

Radamès is coming here. What is he going to tell me? Perhaps he is coming to say goodbye to me.

I miss my homeland. I will never be able to return.

O patria mia

As Aida waits alone for Radamès, her father appears.

Amonasro

I understand the relationship between you three. There is a way to defeat Amneris if you want it. You can have your homeland and your throne.

Remember the fragrant forests, the cool valleys, the golden temples.

Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate

Aida

I remember the fragrant forests, the cool valleys, and the golden temples.

Amonasro

Don’t forget! Egypt invaded us first, destroyed our palaces, and took away our country’s daughters. Our country is ready to fight. But we must know the path the enemy will take.

Get the Egyptian military secrets from Radamès. For the sake of our country.

Aida refuses at first but then accepts her father’s request. Aida’s father hides behind a tree.

Radamès appears.

Radamès

I finally met you, my dear Aida.

Pur ti riveggo, mia dolce Aida

Aida

Please leave. You are to be married to Amneris.

Radamès

Why do you say such things? I love you so much. Next time there is a war, I will win it and take the credit. As a reward for my victory, I will ask the king to grant me the privilege of marrying you.

Aida

If you love me, I want you to run away from here with me.

Radamès

Do you want me to leave my country? Do you want me to leave everything I have built up? Do you want me to abandon my faith?

Aida

You do not love me. Goodbye.

Radamès

Wait a minute. Okay. I’ll run away with you. I’m abandoning my country.

Aida

Which road should we take to escape? Aren’t there armed soldiers all over the place?

Radamès

The valley of Napata will be uninhabited until tomorrow to attack the enemy.

Amonasro

The valley of Napata! Send our Ethiopian troops there!

Father Aida appears from behind a tree. Radamès is bewildered.

Amonasro

I am the king of Ethiopia.

Radamès

You are Amonasro. I have lost my honor! I have betrayed my country.

Tu!… Amonasro!… tu!… il Re?

Aida

Calm down!

Radamès panics, saying repeatedly that he has lost his honor. Aida tries to calm him down.

Amneris arrives from the temple with the chief priests and guards.

Amneris

(Amneris’ voice from far away) Traitor!

Aida

My love rival!

When Aida’s father tries to attack Amneris with a dagger, Radamès stops him. Radamès let Aida and Aida’s father escape. He is caught himself.

Aida: Act4

Scene1

The Hall of the Temple in Memphis

Amneris is alone in front of the door leading to the dungeon.

Amneris

My love rival is gone. Radamès is awaiting judgment from the priests.

Radamès has betrayed Egypt. He revealed military secrets and tried to leave the country with Aida.

I love Radamès desperately and madly. I want to save him. Guards, bring Radamès to me.

L’aborrita rivale a me sfuggia

Amneris has guards bring Radamès from the dungeons.

Amneris

The priests who will decide your fate are gathered here. Despite the horror of the situation, you have been allowed to explain yourself. Explain yourself. I will be there to support you.

Già i Sacerdoti adunansi

Radamès

I don’t think my explanation will be heeded. Indeed, I have carelessly given information to the enemy.

I’ve lost all hope and I’m ready to die.

Amneris

Do not tell me of your death! Live for me.

Radamès

You have taken Aida from me, you have made her dead, and you have given me life.

Amneris

Aida is still alive. The only one who has died is Aida’s father.

Radamès

I want Aida to return safely to her country. I do not want her to know that I am dead.

Amneris

You will live.

Radamès

I’m ready to die.

Radamès returns to the dungeon. The priests go down into the dungeon.

Amneris

I can’t believe it was me who informed the priests of Radamès’ betrayal.

The trial begins in the basement.

Ramfis’ voice
O Spirit of God, come down to us. According to God’s judgment, we will judge him.

Spirto del Nume

Amneris

Oh, have mercy on him.

Ramfis’ voice
You will not plead your case. You have disobeyed your country, your king, and your honor.

Radamès, your fate is sealed. You will die a man of infamy. You will enter alive under the temple of an angry god.

The priests come out of the basement. Amneris confronts the priests.

Amneris

It’s awful to put him in the grave while he’s still alive! He’s the one I love. How can you do such a terrible thing to him?

Ramfis
He is a traitor. He deserves the death penalty.

Scene2

Temple of the Fire God, inside the tomb of Radamès

Radamès entered the tomb alone, and the priests closed the stone door.

Radamès

The stone of death has closed over me. I wonder if Aida is safe.

La fatal pietra sovra me si chiuse

There is a noise. Aida comes out of the darkness.

Aida

I had anticipated that this would be the case and had gone into the tomb ahead of time.

Radamès tried to lift the stone to free Aida, but it did not budge.

Aida

Aida and Radamès
O earth, farewell, farewell, the valley of tears. A dream of joy gone with pain. The heavens are open to us.

O terra, addio; addio, valle di pianti

They die, promising to be united in heaven.

Amneris, dressed in mourning, prays over Radamès’ grave.

Amneris

May peace be with you. May God lead you to heaven.

Pace t’imploro

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