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Annapolis Opera Opens A Season Of Vengeance, Valor And Verdi With "Aida"

Dylan Roche
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November 1, 2012

By Dylan Roche

Annapolis Opera opened its 40th-anniversary season with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” on October 27. The semi-staged production at Maryland Hall brought together a cast of professional opera singers, the Annapolis Opera Chorus and members of the world-renowned Morgan State Choir. The singers were accompanied by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Ron Gretz. The collaboration resulted in a wholly satisfying version of Verdi’s opera.

This is the first time Annapolis Opera has staged “Aida,” and the performance delivered all the passion, vitality and tragic romance a pharaoh could shake a flail and crook at. Audiences were swept away to the ancient world of the Old Kingdom in the Nile Valley, where Egypt is engaged in war with Ethiopia.

The brutality of battle, however, is nothing compared to that of love when the Egyptian warrior Ramades pursues a passionate intrigue with Ethiopian princess Aida, a captive of war brought to Egypt as a slave. The Egyptian princess, Amneris, also loves Ramades, but when he does not return her affections, she grows resentful and jealous.

The high-caliber presentation of Verdi’s masterpiece was a gift to local opera lovers. The cast, led by Adrienne Danrich as Aida and Michael Wade Lee as Radames, gave magnificent performances. They showed impressive vocal talents and masterful command of Verdi’s music.

Expressive and dramatic, they communicated the story beautifully; although they were assisted by English supertitles, their emotions were what truly translated the story effectively to the audience. Additionally, the minimalist staging set emphasis on the dramatic storytelling through the use of music and song.

“Aida” marked the beginning of Annapolis Opera’s season-long tribute to 200 years since Verdi’s birth. In the spring, the company will produce a fully-staged production of “Rigoletto.” To follow Annapolis Opera’s season, or to find ticket information for any of its upcoming shows, visit www.annapolisopera.org.

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