”Aida must be retold, because the world has changed irrevocably,” says world-class director Philipp Himmelmann. The new Aida of the Savonlinna Opera Festival is both intimate and visually spectacular, and realistic yet mythical. Surrounded by the horrors of war, a captive woman is asking where she belongs: to her fatherland or to where she has found love. Aida has to make a choice.
In the aftermath of a global pandemic, Verdi’s great classic is perhaps more thought-provoking than ever. The consequences of the uncertainty, confusion, loneliness and isolation still prevail in every cell of our being. The opera also has a special place in the history of the Savonlinna Opera Festival. After two silent summers, it’s particularly wonderful to reopen the festival with a new Aida.
Arias about forbidden love and magnificent choral scenes move Aida’s story forward. The American soprano Adina Aaron was considered one of the world’s most convincing young Aidas when she first visited the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 2008. Now she returns to the role after a multitude of engagements with leading opera companies. Helena Juntunen alternates with Aaron as Aida, while the rest of the cast includes Agnieszka Rehlis, Ève-Maud Hubeaux, Gaston Rivero, Ivan Magri, and Tommi Hakala.
Philipp Himmelmann is a highly sought-after director. James Bond himself stalks villains in the performance of his Tosca in the film Quantum of Solace.