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The essence of Grand Opera first performed in Cairo in 1871. Set in Egypt at the time of the pharoes. A captain of guard (Radames) is in love with Aida, an Ethiopian slave girl - who happens also to be the daughter of the king of Ethiopia. Her mistress, Amneris, is also in love with Radames. When the Ethiopians invade Radames is chosen to lead the army. When they return victorious Radames asks for all the Ethiopian slaves to be released - except Aida and her father who persuades her to trick Radames into revealing the plans of the Egyptian army - but he suggests that they all run away to Ethiopia together. When Radames is accused of treason he gives himself up to let Aida and her father escape but is condemned to be improisoned alive. As the last stones are put in place Aida appears and joins him in the tomb so that they might die together.
Written shortly after The Marriage of Figaro. Based on the famous legend of Don Juan the master seducer from whom no woman can be considered safe. Don Giovanni pursues, seduces, rapes and murders and in the climax is pulled to hell by a stone statue of one of his victims come to life - he remains unrepentant. His servant Leporello witnesses all his masters wrongs. There is also a rarely performed opera of the same name (and story) by Giuseppe Gazzaniga which was first performed in 1786, eight months before Mozart's version.
Sung in English
Puccini's most enduring opera. The story of the love of the poor poet Rodolfo for the consumptive seamstress Mimi. Set in the Latin Quarter of Paris the course of their love is constantly threatened by Rodolfo's jealousy and Mimi's illness. The painter Marcello and the provocative Musetta are the other main characters. This is where 'your tiny hand is frozen' comes from and the last few bars, as Rodolfo realises Mimi is dead, are some of opera's most moving moments.
Ghino has fallen in love with Pia, wife of his cousin Nello. When she refuses his love, as revenge Ghino informs Nello that he has discovered a secret message proving that Pia has an adulterous relation.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles.