“Jealousy, revenge, hopeless romance and a breathtaking wall of fire bring epic Verdi operas Aida and Nabucco to life”, in opera producer Ellen Kent’s new tour, which visits Liverpool next month.
Anyone familiar with the touring grande dame’s style will find that pyrotechnic displays and lighting effects are par for the course with Kent’s love of bringing large-scale productions to the local stage, this time complete with scenery depicting the splendour and mystery of ancient Egypt and the hanging gardens of Babylon.
She said: “I feel I can indulge myself in these operas. I try my best to give the audience the feeling of something epic.” No kidding. The Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, with international guest soloists, come to the Liverpool Empire on February 7 (Nabucco) and February 8 (Aida).
The production of Aida includes “temple dancers, cages of exotic birds and parrots, ballet sequences, pillared sets with intricate tomb paintings, Bedouin dancers, a bathing scene and the ceremonial march with a pyrotechnic display where a wall of fire extends across the stage in a massive burst of flames”, it sez ‘ere. Good Lord.
The tale focusses on Ethiopian princess Aida, who is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt. Military commander Radames falls in love with Aida, and struggles between his feeling for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh.
Kent explains: “Basically, it’s the big one. The biggest, most spectacular opera. In my opinion, it’s the best score Verdi ever wrote. It’s exotic and interesting and the music is simply spectacular.”
Nabucco is the opera that launched Kent’s career 21 years ago. Since then, she has produced and directed about 100 operas and as such entertained more than four million people with her tours of the UK and Ireland. The opera follows the plight of the Hebrews as they are conquered and sentenced to death by the Babylonian King Nabucco. A romantic plot combines with power play, religion and death – as surely all good operas should.
Tickets are on sale now from the box office on 0844 871 3017 or go online at www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
Here’s a taster of how they do it at the Met, which sadly, despite all best efforts might be scaled down somewhat for a visit to Liverpool: