Table of contents AIDA - Composer:
Radames learns from Ramfis that the Ethiopians are
threatening war and that the Goddess Isis has already
decided on the name of the Egyptian supreme commander.
Radames is overjoyed at the news and hopes he will
be chosen and be able to return triumphantly to
Aida, the young Ethiopian slave he loves. Amneris,
the King's daughter, appears and he tells her of
his hopes, but makes no mention of his feelings
for Aida. Shortly after, Aida herself approaches.
Amneris sees in her eyes the love she bears for
Radames and swears vengeance because she too is
in love with the young captain of the guards. In
the meantime the King enters preceded by his guards
and followed by priests led by Ramfis. A messenger
enters bearing the news that the ethiopians have
invaded Egypt and are marching against Thebes, led
by the mighty warrior Amonasro. The King announces
that Isis has appointed Radames supreme commander.
The crowd cries out in homage to him, while Amneris
presents him with the standard with which he is
to return victorious. Only Aida is sad since the
victory of Radames, whom she loves, must mean the
defeat of her father, who has taken up arms to free
her from slavery. In this moment of distress, she
calls upon the gods to have pity on her.
The temple of Vulcan.
The priests and priestesess sing a hymn to the gods:
Radames enters dressed for battle, receives the
sacred sword and is consecrated for victory.
Amneris' private apartments.
The King's daughter is surrounded by her slaves
who are dressing her for the triumphal festivities,
while young Moorish slaves perform a dance. When
Aida appears, Amneris hides her true feelings and
sympathizes with her for the fate of her people,
defeated in the battle. Then, to discover whether
Aida is in love with Radames, she tells her that
he has been killed in the battle. Aida is stricken
with grief; Amneris confirmed her suspicions and
filled with rage, reveals the truth. Radames is
alive and she, Amneris, loves him too. At first
Aida proudly declares her love, but then begs for
pity. Amneris threatens her, reminding her that
she is only a slave and cannot hope to compete with
a daughter of the Pharaohs.
The population celebrates the victory, while the
King and Amneris, together with Aida and other slaves,
the ministers and priests, await Radames to celebrate
his triumph. A column of soldiers and prisoners
arrives, with Radames at its head. The King welcomes
him and asks him what he would like as a reward.
Radames has the prisoners brought before the King.
Among them Aida recognizes her father Amonasro and
succeeds in speaking to him briefly. He commands
her not to betray him, and, without revealing his
true identity, pleads for the King's mercy. Radames
also pleads that all the prisoners be freed, but
the high priest objects and proposes that at least
Aida and her father be held in Egypt, as a guarantee
of peace. The king approves this suggestion and
announces that he intends to reward Radames by confering
the hand of Amneris upon him. While the crowd cheers,
Radames and Aida secretly express their sorrow.
Night on the banks of the Nile
Ramfis leads Amneris to the temple to propitiate
the goddess on the eve of her wedding. Concealed
nearby, Aida awaits Radames, but while she is waiting
Amonasro appears and, reminding her of the beauties
of her native land, urges her to persuade Radames
to reveal the route the Egyptian forces will use
to invade Ethiopia. Aida is horrified at his suggestion.
Then Radames approaches and Amonasro conceals himself.
Aida proposes to Radames that they flee from Egypt,
following some secret route unguarded by the Egyptian
forces. Radames mentions the gorges of Napata. At
that moment Amonasro reappears and reveals his true
identity. Radames is horror-stricken, for he realizes
that he has revealed a military secret and is dishonoured.
At this point Amneris arrives from the temple and
cries out at the betrayal. Amonasro seeks to kill
her but Radames prevents him, and surrendering his
sword to Ramfis, allows himself to be taken prisoner.
Amonasro escapes with Aida.
Amneris is torn between rage, sorrow and love.
She wants to save Radames and has him brought before
her. She will implore the King to pardon him if only
he will look favourably upon her, she says. Radames
refuses. He believes Aida to be dead and life holds
nothing more for him: he remains unmoved even when
Amneris tells him Aida is still alive. He is then
taken back to the dungeon and sentenced to be buried
alive under the altar of the god. Amneris bitterly
deplores the cruelty of the priests and their punishment.
Radames is ready to die and prays that Aida will
be able to find happyness one day: but Aida is concealed
in the chamber and comes forward to embrace him. Radames
laments Aida's harsh fate, but she consoles him with
the certainty that the ''angel of death'' will unite
them forever. While the two lovers bid farewell to
the Earth, Amneris clothed in mourning robes, prostrates
herself on the stone covering the entrance to the
vault and beseeches the gods to grant peace to the
man buried below.