Aida on Naxos Historical -
'... playing that is supple but capable also of maximum excitement.'
The last time I saw Aida was at the temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt,
where frankly Verdi hardly had a chance. Statues of Ramesses II, with
'wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command' surveyed the jealousies of hectic
mortals and found them insignificant. The Egyptian army sent a sizeable
detachment to bolster the Triumphal March (many a soldier shrewdly kept his
cigarette between his marching fingers); a heavily doped lion lay stretched
on a cart with crossed paws as climax to the display; and the shrine allotted
to the dying Aida and Radamès was too small to contain them for more
than a moment. That was some time ago, but long after I first heard this
1952 Decca recording now 'declicked and re-equalised' by Naxos. Its virtues
are magnificent, its faults so obvious they are hardly worth dwelling on.
Del Monaco as Radamès has a voice that would certainly have stirred
the lion to unpredictable action and might have persuaded even Ramesses II
to modify his expression.
Copyright © 1 February 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK