Aida by Giuseppe Verdi
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. At first, in 1860, Verdi declined to compose the hymn that had been commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal: he refused the 80,000 francs that had been offered to him by replying that he would never write music for occasions. The musician agreed to write Aida when he was told that it would inaugurate a prestigious theater in Cairo.
When the premiere finally took place, it achieved enormous success and to this day it continues to be one of the most famous operas. Verdi achieved an astonishing effect with the use, in the Triumphal March, of long trumpets, similar to the Egyptian trumpets or the Roman buccine purposely reconstructed for the occasion.
Verdi did not take part in the Aida premiere, he was very dissatisfied with the fact that the public was composed exclusively of politicians and invited critics. He therefore considered the first Italian (and European) representation, held at La Scala in Milan on 8 February 1872, as the real premiere.
Verdi had also written the role of Aida for the voice of Teresa Stolz, who sang it for the first time at the premiere in Milan. The composer had asked the singer's fiance, Angelo Mariani, to direct the Cairo premiere, but he refused, so the choice fell on Giovanni Bottesini. Amneris's interpreter in Milan, Maria Waldmann, was her favorite for the role.
A complete version of the opera was performed in New York in 1949. Directed by Toscanini with Herva Nelli in the role of Aida and Richard Tucker in the role of Radamès, it was broadcast on television on the NBC television network.