Digital program - Mehta-Abaeva

arias from "aida", "don carlo" and "la forza del destino" GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901) The three arias performed in this concert are taken from operas written by Verdi in the period when he was an international sensation. The premieres of these operas took place outside of Italy: La Forza del Destino was first performed at the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg in 1862, Don Carlo in Paris in 1867, and Aida in Cairo in 1871. The three arias are sung in turning points of the operas’ plots: moments of pure drama in which the heroine, the soprano singer, is about to undertake a critical action that will change the course of the storyline. La Forza del destino is the only opera by Verdi which has an abstract title, conveying the notion of destiny hunting the characters throughout the opera. Leonora, the heroine, was about to marry Alvaro who accidentally killed her father. This unintentional shooting becomes the focal point of the opera’s narrative. In a desperate attempt to seek forgiveness for her sin, and believing that her beloved one is dead, Leonora isolates herself in a cave near a monastery, where she finds some bread everyday. She does not see anyone, and does not know who brings her food. In the beginning of the aria Pace, pace mio dio! Her voice sounds emanate from the depths of the cave. As the aria progresses, Leonora is coming out of the cave, looking up at the sky and calls: “Peace, peace, O god / Cruel misfortune, alas, forces me to languish”. Verdi himself referred to this aria as a “melody” and one of the critics claimed that it resembles Schubert’s Ave Maria. Aida, probably Verdi’s most popular opera, was first performed in Egypt, not at the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal, as many mistakenly believe, and not at the opening of Cairo’s opera house. The opera has a traditional form, following the Grand opera of the early 19th century, with a narrative based on Egyptian culture. Goddess Isis chose Radamès to be the new leader of the Egyptian army. The priests then escort him to the temple to formally assume his position. When the Egyption people greet him, “May he return a victor”, Aida joins them. But as she utters these words, she understands how severe her secret wish is: her beloved, Radamès, whose victory she wishes for, will battle against the army led by her father, King Amonsaro - the army that came to rescue her from captivity. She will sin by betraying one of the two: either the man she loves ca. 24 mins. "Ritorna vincitor" from Aida "Tu che le vanità" from Don Carlo "Pace, pace" from La Forza del Destino