The Red Sea lagoon resort town of el-Gouna is preparing to host a first-ever musical event on 13 October 2022: a performance of Verdi’s Aida.
The performance celebrates 150 years on the first performance of Aida in 1872 at the Cairo Opera House.
El-Gouna’s Aida performance is sponsored and organised by the Red Sea Governorate, jointly with Orascom Development—the flagship development of which is el-Gouna, created in the early 1990s—and in cooperation with RMC and ievents. It will show at el-Gouna Conference and Cultural Centre (GCCC) to some 500-700 spectators.
The show re-imagines the legendary Aida tale in a contemporary perspective, paying homage to Egypt where the tale originates, with soloists from the Bolshoi and Merinsky Theatres.
The history of Verdi’s Aida goes back to 1869 when Egypt’s Khedive Ismail was preparing for a spectacular grand opening of the Suez Canal, an opening that would be attended by world royalty and heads of State. For this he built the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, designed by Italian architect Pietro Avoscani, and modelled after Milan’s La Scala. The opening performance would honour Egypt’s history; the Khedive commissioned the renowned French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette to write the story, Italian librettist Antonio Gialanzoni to write the libretto, and Giuseppe Verdi to compose the music. The result was the opera Aida, which however was not ready by the opening of the Opera House; Rigoletto was performed instead on 1 November 1869. Aida made its premiere two years later on 24 December 1871 at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, and played in 1872 at La Scala in Milan, Italy.
In 1987, Egyptian iconic opera tenor Hassan Kamy (1936 – 2018) started a tradition to have Aida performed in spectacular antiquity sites in Egypt, starting at the foothill of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was since then performed a number of times at the Giza Pyramid and at Hatshepsut Temple on the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor. This October 2022 performance, however, will be a modern re-imagination of the classic work held at a modern-day site.
El-Gouna was created by Orascom Development in the early 1990s on the Red Sea coast some 400km south of Suez, as a modern resort town of exceptional features. Built along the shore and on small close-by islands, It grew to be self-sufficient and sustainable, famous for its lagoons, coral reefs and sandy beaches.
For history of Aida and Cairo Opera House:
11 October 2022