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  Aida Reviews

Lyric Opera
Thru - Mar 25, 2012

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Lyric Opera

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Chicago Sun Times- Recommended

"... Sicilian tenor Marcello Giordani holds his own throughout the impossibly demanding part of Radames, and whether they always connect in the first three acts, he and Radvanovsky offer the proper, shared delicacy in the Tomb Scene finale. American Jill Grove seems to have become Lyric’s house mezzo and this has been a very good thing, even if her nuanced, jealous princess Amneris does not quite match her successes or depth in the Austro-German repertoire. American baritone Gordon Hawkins, an impressive Porgy at Lyric, holds the stage as Aida’s captive father Amonasro. American bass Raymond Aceto is a solid Ramfis. the high priest. Ryan Center second-year bass Evan Boyer has a lovely voice not quite powerful enough for the King of Egypt in the cavernous Civic Opera House. First-year Ryan mezzo Cecelia Hall was a lyrical offstage priestess. Michael Black’s chorus, Kenneth von Heidecke’s principal dancers, Eric Weimer’s onstage trumpets and Jason Brown’s lighting all animate the space and time. Alas, there are no elephants."
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Andrew Patner

Chicago Stage Review- Highly Recommended

"... Ultimately, the story of Aida is one in which love triumphs over loyalty to family and country, and even over death. Radames is named the supreme Egyptian commander, and goes on to defeat the Ethiopian army. To demonstrate his gratitude, the pharaoh offers Radames his daughter’s hand in marriage. Now the commander must decide whether to follow his duty or his heart. After Radames commits to the marriage with Amneris, he unwittingly reveals Egyptian battle plans in an attempt to give Aida and her father an escape route out of Egypt. He realizes that he must surrender himself to a court of priests from whose deadly justice even Amneris cannot save him. Thus the grandest of grand operas comes to a close not with a glorious climax, but rather with a most tender moment between doomed lovers. Aida’s heartrending finale is an enduring example of the musical and emotional genius of Verdi’s greatest work."
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Lori Dana

Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"...Five new singing actors are now at work in the principal roles, and the chemistry has improved over the first cast, reviewed here. The high points are different, too. This time around the Ethiopian slave Aida’s tragic struggle to remain true to her love for Radames — an Egyptian war hero and thus technically her enemy — builds to a hair-raising pitch in the Act III showdown between Aida and her disapproving father."
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Nancy Malitz

ChicagoCritic- Highly Recommended

"... Besides Verdi brilliant score, the voices sing with passionate emotions. Tenor Marcello Giordani commands the stage and soars to the heavens while Sondra Radvanovsky – a Chicago native- raises to the demanding role of Aida. She triumphs in her first time as Aida at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The audience cheered her performance! Jill Grove’s mezzo effectively demonstrated Amneris’ heartache and Gordon Hwkins strong baritone rules his scenes."
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Tom Williams

Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...This AIDA might be the most colorful spectacle that I’ve ever seen at the opera. Set and Costume Designer Pet Halmen fills the stage with an elaborately dressed ensemble. Royalty is in gold and white splendor. The council is in mauve robes with funky dome hats. Dancers are in pastel swirling silks. Guards are in black metal hardware. And the captured Ethiopians are blue-skinned with purple-blue-tie-dye strappings. This sea of hue is moving within a fortress of columns and oversize idols. At the end of Act 2, the gates of Thebes are a vibrant bi-level explosion of textures and color. The visual is incredible and barely describable."
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Katy Walsh