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Preview: Aida at Sunderland Empire

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Verdi's Aida
Sunderland Empire
Saturday 29th October 2016

Starring the French soprano Olga Perrier and the Russian soprano Ecaterina Danu as Aida and Liza Kadelnik, the celebrated mezzo-soprano from the Romanian National Opera, as Amneris

Aida, the grandest of all Ellen Kent’s operas, returns to Sunderland Empire on Saturday 29 October 2016 with a stunning new traditional production, boasting an impressive new set built by Set-Up Scenery in the UK, who also build sets for the Royal Opera Covent Garden.

In Aida, the splendour of Egypt is set against the grandeur of the Coliseum of Rome with Ellen Kent’s direction influenced by the ancient Greek dramas of Euripides and symbolising the powerful religious hold of the priests of Egypt.

This tragic story of war, jealousy and revenge at whose heart is the doomed love of the beautiful Ethiopian slave girl, Aida, and the Egyptian hero, Radames, is brought to life in a production set against one of the greatest pieces of music Verdi ever wrote with the well-known arias “Celeste Aida”, “Ritorna Vincitor” and the classic “Triumphal March” featuring a temple dance, cascades of glittering gold, magnificent 7 foot tall black, ebony statues with gold replicas from the Tutankhamen collection, huge set and many other authentic additions with spectacular dancing Poi fire spinners.

Ellen Kent said: “I have produced and directed many Aida’s over the years and it still remains the biggest challenge a producer can face.  I have staged many sell out performances of Aida’s at the Royal Albert Hall with a cast of 100’s. My vision of Aida, matches Verdi’s vision and I try and give Aida the grandeur which Verdi achieved in the first production in Egypt when he was commissioned to write an opera for the opening of the Suez Canaland premiered in Cairo1871. From dancing alabaster fountains, Las Vegas style and made in India, life size bejewelled elephants, walls of fire, fire spinners, ballet and Bedouin dancers, enormous sets which have to fit into large to smaller spaces and now for the first time I am introducing a black stallion into the larger venues.

I want all my public to enjoy the grandeur of this magnificent opera, in my opinion the best score Verdi ever wrote – not an easy task.  My Aida’s have been described as “The Las Vegas of operas” which I regard as a compliment.  “Even now, it’s my ambition to stage Aida on the banks of the Nilewith a cast of thousands.”

The French soprano Olga Perrier together with the international soprano Ecaterina Danu will be singing the part of Aida. Ecaterina returns after her spectacular success in Aida and La Boheme in Autumn 2013. The international tenors Giorgio Meladze and Vitalii Liskovetskiy are also returning on Ellen Kent’s tour after their previous huge success in the UK.The Spanish Tenor Giorgi Meladze, has acquired critical acclaim in Europe, singing in Milan, Spain and across Europe. Both tenors will be singing the part of Radames. Ellen Kent has invited the stunning international Romanian mezzo-soprano Liza Kadelnik who will be returning after her critically acclaimed performances of Carmen and Die Fledermaus in 2015 and 2016. Lurie Gisca, the celebrated Moldovan baritone returns after his critically acclaimed performance of Escamillo in Ellen Kent’s Carmen to sing Amonasro, king of Ethiopia.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

*Cast subject to change

Tickets available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on
0844 871 3022* or online at*
*Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings

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