Egypt comes to Auckland with APO Premiere of Aida

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) brings one of the most beloved operas to the Auckland Town Hall in July – Verdi’s Aida.

The Trusts Community Foundation Opera in Concert performance of Aida presented by the APO, in association with New Zealand Opera (NZ Opera), for a one-night-only performance on 20 July, conducted by APO Music Director Giordano Bellincampi.

Set in Egypt, Aida is one of opera’s enduring tales of romance and tragedy, telling the story of a love triangle between a beautiful slave, a vengeful princess and a great warrior. The title role, Aida, is portrayed by Italian lyric soprano Maria Luigia Borsi, who returns to the APO following her critically-acclaimed performance of Desdemona in Otello in 2016. She has been hailed by critics worldwide for her vocal dynamism and interpretive prowess, and is particularly known for her interpretations of operas by Verdi and Puccini.

Ms Borsi is joined by Italian tenor Antonello Palombi as Radamès, who has sung the role to great acclaim at both La Scala and The Metropolitan opera houses. Russian mezzo-soprano Olesya Petrova sings the role of volatile Egyptian princess Amneris. She has been a finalist in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and has been praised for her warm tone and expressive drama. Italian baritone Lucio Gallo sings Amonasro; an accomplished baritone with a celebrated career spanning two decades, Mr Gallo is a regular guest at leading concert halls and opera houses.

The all-star cast is rounded out with Italian Bass Giacomo Prestia (singing the role of the High Priest Ramfis) Australian Bass Pelham Andrews (The King of Egypt) and New Zealanders Anna Leese (The High Priestess) and Oliver Sewell (the Messenger), as well as The Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus. It will incorporate stage direction from Stuart Maunder AM who also staged the singers in 2016’s Otello and 2017’s Manon Lescaut performed by the APO.

Verdi’s Aida is a worldwide favourite, and is among the most-performed operas in the world. This is the first time the APO has presented it as an opera in concert performance for Auckland audiences. Maestro Bellincampi is renowned for his interpretations of Italian opera, and he says it will be a privilege to present Verdi’s masterpiece in Auckland.

“One of the wonderful things about an opera in concert performance is that the music truly is the star,” Maestro Bellincampi says. “You don’t need elephants or pyramids on stage to feel the power and emotion, the hope and despair of Aida. Instead, we have a superb cast of singers, a majestic chorus and the exceptional Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra to bring Verdi’s music to life.”

Prior to the concert, Maestro Bellincampi will be presenting a free half-hour pre-concert talk in the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber at 6:45pm, in which he will discuss the story of the opera, the score, and the context in which it was written.

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