Barcelona Events: 21-30 July Aida by Giuseppe Verdi at Gran Teatre del Liceu

23 07 2012

Plot Summary

The action is set in Memphis and Thebes, in the days of the great pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are at war with the Ethiopians that threaten to invade them. The Egyptian army emerges victorious and Amonasro, the king of Ethiopia, is captured. It is against this backdrop that Radamès, the Egyptian military commander, and Aida, an Ethiopian slave, fall in love. As is often the case in the romantic drama genre, their love triumphs over the hatred between their peoples and their contrasting social status.

Set Design

One of the prime attractions of this production of Aida is the set designed by Josep Mestres Cabanes, which has been restored by Jordi Castells. The Liceu thereby wishes to pay tribute to one of the finest exponents of the “Catalan school of set design”.

Josep Mestres Cabanes executed his best works for the Liceu’s opera performances – many of Wagner’s works in particular – and was appointed the head scenery designer at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in 1942.

The art of Mestres Cabanes is part of the realist aesthetic, to which he applies an abundance of detail and ornamentation in order to achieve historical authenticity and which underline the dramatic and lavish nature of the stage. However, at the same time, his outstanding precision and profound knowledge of perspective – he is the author of the finest treatise on perspective of his time – create magical effects of light and depth, producing an exquisitely harmonious overall effect.

Mestres Cabanes very much appreciated this production of Aida first performed in 1945, on which he worked for eight years.

Isidre Bravo, a scholar of the Catalan school of stage design, claims, “Aida’s stage design, as far as architectural reproduction is concerned, represents one of the pinnacles of Mestres Cabanes’ set designs”.

Font: Gran Teatre del Liceu