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Aida on Naxos Historical -
reviewed by

'... playing that is supple but capable also of maximum excitement.'

Great Opera Recordings. Verdi: Aida. © 2003 HNH International Ltd

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.

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Copyright © 1 February 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


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