Verdi's Aida

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, March 03, 2012

This week's broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera is Verdi's 1871 opera about a doomed love triangle in which an enslaved African princess Aida falls in love with her Egyptian captor, Radames, who is engaged to the royal princess Amneris. The opera comes in Sonja Frisell's lavish 1988 production, a particular favorite among audiences.

This afternoon's performance features mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Amneris, who made her house role debut in the role; tenor Marcelo Álvarez, who portrays Radamès; and soprano Latonia Moore in the title role, replacing Violeta Urmana, who is ill. This is Moore’s Met debut. Marco Armiliato conducts.

Conductor: Marco Armiliato

Aida: Latonia Moore

Amneris: Stephanie Blythe

Radamès: Marcello Giordani

Amonasro: Lado Ataneli

Ramfis: James Morris

The King: Jordan Bisch

Comments [30]

Norma Stitz from NYC

The leading cast's morbid obesity destroys the entire experience.

Apr. 08 2012 08:39 PM
Ed Rubenstein from Carmel, IN

Latonia Moore was good, albeit not great. Her Patria Mia drooped at the end - uneresoloved, as someone aptly put it. BTW: the Aida broadcast was exactly 50 years to the day (March 3, 1962)of the amazing broadcast of the same opera - with Corelli, Tucci, Dalis, and Tozzi.) No comparison: Corelli was Rhadames for the ages. The cd of that one is available from Bel Canto society.

Mar. 06 2012 11:41 AM

Of course, I've made that mistake myself -- but as a result, I've learned to follow the MET schedule. If the Met's listeners around the world can be trusted to do this, can't New Yorkers as well?

Mar. 05 2012 08:25 PM


The reason for the one-hour delay is because so many people are accustomed to listening to the opera program at 1 pm and we'd hate for them to miss the first hour because they didn't know it was beginning early.

Mar. 05 2012 05:26 PM

After "Aida," it was announced that next week's broadcast will be on an hour delay (reason was not given). This will be, I think, the third time this has been done since WNYC took over the station. The current management of WQXR either does not understand, or is prepared to flout, the tradition of LIVE Met broadcasts. The Met is aired live all over the world (at all ungodly hours) but is going to be delayed an hour, of all places, here in New York? It's ironic that this announcement was made on the heels of Latonia Moore's exciting surprise debut, which was probably as close to a historic afternoon of LIVE music radio as anything we've heard for a while.

Mar. 05 2012 08:25 AM

I rank Latonia Moore's debut as a qualified success. There can be no doubt about the gorgeous sound, the projection, and her ability to float a piano, But she sometimes seemed to stop short and end a crucial phrase without resolution. Dramatically she was robotic and showed little emotion or understanding of the challenges posed by this role. But she is definitely worth giving a chance. Her voice has the true Verdian heft and richness of tone; we just should not rush off to a coronation.

Mar. 04 2012 10:28 PM
Rosanna from NYC

Brava, Latonia!!!!! Let's hope the Met schedules her to sing "Aida" again-- and very soon.

Mar. 04 2012 08:06 PM

Personally, I like the 2/6/37 AIDA with Cigna, Martinelli, Morelli, Castagna, & Pinza conducted by Panizza.

Mar. 03 2012 08:16 PM
Les Bernstein from Miami, Florida

What a triumph for Latonia Moore! What a beautiful voice! It seems
"Ai"da" holds no terrors for her at all. It sounded like it's been in her repertory for years. Stephanie Blythe also gets a laurel wreath, as far as I'm concerned. The women really shown this afternoon. As already expressed, for me it's also all about the voice and the orchestra and chorus. Here's my only complaint: I can't understand why the cymbal wasn't crashed any louder than it was in all of the concerted pieces. This is (was)also only complaint about last week's "Ernani" broadcast. I don't know if this bothers anyone as much as I. Maestro Levine always asked for the cymbals struck "ff" when written and the bass drum, too. Just listen to his performances. I'm not a percussionist, either, so I have no axe to grind. But for crying out loud, let's hear it! Is the "guerra!" chorus or the end of the "Triumphal Scene" subtle or restrained? I don't think so. The Broude Brothers full score doesn't have the cymbal indicated there, only the bass drum, but Levine and Toscanini and Panizza added it. I've never seen the parts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra have, and I never will. I only know what I hear. The triangle bass drum and cymbals were barely audible in the "Ballabili". I plug the computer into my stereo and listen with B&W speakers and follow with the orchestra score, so I don't think I'm missing too much. Just listen to the Met broadcast of "Aida" of March 22, 1941 with Stella Roman, Bruna Castagna, Giovanni Martinelli, Leonard Warren and Ezio Pinza conducted by Ettore Panizza and you'll see what I mean.

Mar. 03 2012 06:20 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau County

Brava Ms. Moore, a little disappointed in the Warrior King, Thank you Mr. Eisenberg for the poetry. This opera is what grand opera is all about.
Beduzza Cavanaugh: Buona Pasqua and of course, senza rancor. You know I enjoy these little back and forths.

Mar. 03 2012 05:34 PM

See you Beduzza. Buonna Pasqua. The next few weeks are not for me. I'll be back for SIEGFRIED ON 4/21. Enjoy these next operas, those of you who like them. Ciao, senza rancor.

Mar. 03 2012 04:58 PM
larry eisenberg from new york city

I do love the Women today,
They make Aida crème brùlée,
Others, alas,
Simply are not first class,
But the Ladies make listening pay.

Mar. 03 2012 04:28 PM

Amonasro is underpowered & somewhat sickly. Where are all the true Verdi baritones? It seems to be a lost art. I haven't heard a real Verdi baritone in years. As for Blythe, listen to her last, climatic high A in the Judgment Scene. She holds it for about a second. Verdi wrote it as a whole note - 4 beats. I think it's the greatest mezzo-scene Verdi wrote. Just pick up the Met's DVD & Zajick will show all the emotion, acting & voice needed for that scene. Including a tremendous High A. I think the role is a little beyond Blythe's ability at this stage in her career.

Mar. 03 2012 04:22 PM

BRAVISSIMA MOORE !!!!! Does anyone hear just a hint of the immortal Price in Moore's voice? That's a compliment. I hope she chooses her roles wisely & has a long, wonderful, fulfilling career!!! BRAVISSMA !!!!!

Mar. 03 2012 04:12 PM
Norberto Torriente from New Jersey

I give Miss Latonia Moore a lot of credit for stepping in such short notices on a very difficult role. She sounds splendid!!!!! her middle and lower register is very velvety. My next compliments to Miss Stephanie Blythe in one of my favorites Mezzo roles next to Eboli. What a truly rich voice with a lot of power and nuances.

Mar. 03 2012 04:09 PM

Let's go down memory lane. I have a Met Aida from 1953 with Milanov, Thebom, DelMonaco, London & Hines. From the 60's I heard Nilsson, Bumbry, Corelli, MacNeil & Giaiotti. I challange anyone to assemble a cast of such power & nouance as either I listed. I don't think it's possible.

Mar. 03 2012 03:26 PM
Charles Scribner from New York

Brava, Latonia! I too saw [more than heard] Aida at the Baths of Caracalla, summer of 1972....The current Met's production is equally splendid and faithful--pray it survives the recent fate of other such classic productions consigned to the warehouses and replaced by monuments to banality....

Mar. 03 2012 03:11 PM
Mary Jane Hodge from Melville

Ms. Moore is wonderful so far and it is just the second act. Blythe and company superb. I saw a performance of Aida at the Baths of Caracalla in 1959. No memory of who sang.

Mar. 03 2012 02:56 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau County

I grew up listening to Bjoerling, Milanov, Gigli. Very lucky. But we did not have television then. So we did not give a damn but now some of us do. As for the replacement, wow she stepped in cold and has done well in a very difficult role. Waiting for The Warrior King. And Elton John, eat your heart out. This is the real Aida. James Morris sounds a little old. It happens to all of us. Love the historical segement in between the acts.
Web site very bad. Wonder if anyone else has this problem. Last week, a gentleman wrote in that he too was having a problem with the web site. Wrote to QXR.

Mar. 03 2012 02:48 PM
Mike from NYC

Blythe is just AWESOME!!!

Mar. 03 2012 02:47 PM
vanderson from rumson nj

where is the signal
South Jersy suffers from bad service on 105.9

Mar. 03 2012 02:06 PM
maurice from Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sounds like a new Met Star is born. Latonia Moore's last note on Ritorna Vincitor was so beautiful, I wished she had held the note longer. BRAVO!!!

Mar. 03 2012 01:40 PM

Doesn't anyone have recordings from before the video age? Did we care what Gigli, Bjorling, Milanov, et al looked like? No, it was the voice. That's what makes opera special. Australian Opera put out a video of Boheme with all young, good looking people with very little voice. It didn't work. Did anyone care what Traubel & Melchior looked like? Traubel once said when she & Melchior met in the middle of the stage at the start of Act 2 of Tristan, it looked like two 5th Ave. busses colliding. But what beautiful music they made. Good looks are just an extra, without a voice, we might as well put good looking people on stage mouthing the words with the singers off-stage doing the actual singing. I could care less if the singer were as tiny as a mouse or as large as Jabba The Hut, as long as they could sing well. So far Ms. Moore is doing well & I have no idea what she looks like, nor would that change my opinion of her.

Mar. 03 2012 01:36 PM

In late 1950s travelling through Rome I saw a marvelous performance of Aida. I would appreciate it so very much if any one can tell me who the performers were?

Mar. 03 2012 01:32 PM
Aida from Starbucks in Staten Island

I understand your point because in theater, the actor "looks the part" and has to become the part through good acting. In opera its different. The opera singers are usually not good actors and they dress the part but only coincidentally may look the part. In Opera, they rely on the music and the singing to portray the part. If you were to see it, you could tell by their actions and facial expressions what is going on but mostly you tell by the music, the phrasing, the tones, etc. I have been fortunate to see Aida performed once, and the women were too old (they should be about 18-20)and too big. But the performance was amazing.

Mar. 03 2012 01:23 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau County

Sometimes I am glad that I cannot see the singers but if I were paying good money to go to a live performance, opera is theatre, I would expect the singers to look the part. Yes, Rhadames might like large women. I am eagerly awaiting the entrance of my favorite character, the Warrior King. Wow, if love of country is a crime, we are all ready to die. I envy the baritones who sing this role.

Mar. 03 2012 01:14 PM

Since I cannot see the singers on the radio, I don't care what they look like. It's all in the voice, anything else is just a nice addition.

Mar. 03 2012 12:46 PM
David from Flushing

It is possible that Radamès likes big women. That is not our decision.

Mar. 03 2012 11:17 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau county

Beduzza Cavanaugh, hope you are well. I will reserve comment as well. Last year, I commented on the width and girth of the singers and angered some listeners. Will exercise restraint this time around.Which is difficult for me. Only know that there is the aria, Celeste Aida FORMA DIVINA. Nuff said. I remember Leontyne Price as Aida and she was a real Va Va Voom Aida. Gorgeous.

Mar. 03 2012 07:40 AM

Hi Beduzza. I heard two perfomances of Aida & Urmana was clearly not up to the role. I'l reserve comment until the performance begins. I just hope they are in better shape than those other performances.

Mar. 02 2012 06:59 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.