Aïda, the movie
Opera in Four Acts and Seven Scenes
Libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni
From the French prose of Camille du Locle, plot by Mariette Bey
First Performed at Cairo Opera House, Egypt 24 December, 1871
Script Writer: Hisham Abdel Khalek
Director: Dr. Eid Abdel Latif
>> [ Act I | Act II | Act III | Act IV ] <<
Scene One: Place: Memphis , in Pharaohs' age (30 Minuets)
Radames, captain of the guard, and Ramfis, the high priest, enter in conversation. Rumor has it that the Ethiopians are planning to attack Egypt . Ramfis tells that the goddess Isis has been consulted on the appointment of a general to lead the Egyptian troops. Radames hopes to be nominated as commander-in-chief and muses alone on the prospect of glory and the chance of returning in triumph to Aida, the beautiful Ethiopian slave girl with whom he is secretly in love ( Se quel guerrier io fossi! ... Celeste Aida ). Amneris, the Pharaoh's daughter, enters, asking him the reason for his evident happiness. When she hints at a loved one in Memphis , he looks away confused. In love with him herself, Amneris is at once consumed by jealousy and suspicion. Aida, her slave, enters. Amneris addresses her with hypocritical kindness ( Vieni, o diletta ), but does not fail to notice how she and Radames cannot meet on another's eyes. The King enters with his court ( Alta cagion ); he summons a messenger who brings news of an imminent Ethiopian attack led by the warrior King Amonasro who, unknown to all in Egypt , is Aida's father. All present call for war. Radames is proclaimed general and presented with a standard by Amneris. Accompanied by the battle hymn of the King and the court, Radames proceeds to the Temple of Vulcan to take up arms ( Or di Vulcano al tempio ... Su! del Nilo al sacro lido ). Aida, remaining alone, is overcome by grief, torn between her love for Radames and for her country and her father ( Ritoma vincitor! ).
Scene Two: Place: Temple of Volcano , a great ceremony is given to honor Radames (10 Minuets)
Priests and priestesses perform ritual chants and dances ( Possente Ftha ). Radames receives the sacred arms while all present pray to the god Ftha to protect and defend Egypt ( Nume custode e vindice ).
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Scene One: Place: Amneris' room (15 Minuets)
News of Radames' victory has reached Memphis . Attended by slave girls and entertained by the dance of the young Moorish slaves, Amneris is preparing herself for the triumphal parade ( Chi mai fra gl'inni e i plausi ). Aida enters and Amneris, dismissing all others, intends to discover her true feeling. At first she greets the girl with feigned kindness ( Fu la sorte dell'armi ), but then falsely informs her that Radames has died in action. Aida's cry of despair confirms her suspicion. Admitting that she lied and that Radames is alive, Amneris threatens the slave girl with every kind of cruelty and humiliation. Aida, after a moment's defiance almost revealing her royal origin, regains composure and begs vainly for forgiveness as she confesses her secret love. Amneris leaves in a rage as sounds of triumph are heard.
Scene Two: Place: Near a city gate of Thebes (25 Minuets)
The population is exultant about the victory ( Gloria all 'Egito, ad Iside ). Egyptian troops file in and Radames is crowned with laurel by Amneris ( Salvator all patria ). The Ethiopian prisoners are then brought before the King; among them is Amonasro. He is recognized immediately by Aida who throws herself into his arms. Amonasro quietly bids his daughter not to datary him and, turning to the King, declares himself one among the officers who fought valiantly for their King, who was killed in battle ( Anch'io pugnai ). Aida, Amonasro and the prisoners implore the King to show mercy but Ramfis and the priests calls for their deaths. Radames intercedes on behalf of the prisoners and calls upon the King to grant them freedom as his reward. Ramfis suggests a compromise: the prisoners may go by Aida and her father should be held in Egypt as hostages. The King consents and gives Radames his daughter's hand in marriage and with it the prospect of reigning as his successor. Amid the general rejoicing only Radames and Aida voice their sorrow at the royal decree, while Amonasro has his mind set on revenge and liberation.
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Place: along the river Nile 's bank (32 Minuets)
From the nearby Temple of Isis comes the sound of chanting. Amneris arrives in a boat with Ramifs who escorts her into the temple where she is to spend the night before her wedding in prayer. Next, Aida enters for a tryst with Radames. She is determined to drown herself in the Nile if he intends to part with her; and muses sadly on her distant homeland which she will never see again ( O patria mia ). Amonasro joins her, telling his daughter that a fresh uprising of the Ethiopians is planned and that she must assist her country's cause by finding out from Radames the proposed route of the Egyptian army. He promises her return to her country and her throne with Radames by her side ( Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate ). On the love for her homeland Aida finally bends to his wishes. Radames enters, confident that if he is successful in his second expedition, the King will grant his marriage with Aida ( Nel fiero anelito ). Aida convinces him that their only hope is to flee the country ( La ...... tra foreste vergini ). Radames finally accedes to Aida's wishes and proposes that they leave through the Napata gorges, the route to be taken by the Egyptian army which is still open. Amonasro, having overheard everything, comes out of his hiding place and reveals his true identity to Radames. Radames realises with horror that he has unwittingly betrayed his country. Aida and Amonasro try to persuade him to escape, but at that moment Amneris comes out of the temple with Ramfis. Amonasro attempts to stab her by Radames interposes himself. As Aida and Amonasro make their escape he surrenders to Ramfis and the guards.
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Scene One: Place: Pharaoh's Palace (20 Minuets)
Amneris is alone, torn between love for Radames and the desire for revenge ( L'aborrita rivale a me sfuggia ). She sends for Radames and offers to procure a royal pardon for him if he will renounce Aida ( Gia i Sacerdoti adunansi ). But Radames refuses and she dismisses him despairingly, to undergo his trial ( Ohime! ...... morir mi sento ). She hears from the underground vault the accusations read aloud, to which Radames makes no reply and is condemned as a traitor. As Radames is led to his death she bursts out in denunciation of the priests' cruelty ( Sacerdoti, compiste un diletto! ).
Scene Two: Place: Temple of Volcano (12 Minuets)
Radames is condemned to be walled up alive. The last stone has been set in position ( La fatal pietar ) when he hears a faint sound near him. It is Aida who has stolen unseen into the vault to die at her lover's side. The lovers bid a calm and radiant farewell to this "vale of tear" ( O terra, addio ) while above in the temple the priestesses chant and Amneris dressed in mourning prays to Isis that Radames' soul may rest in peace.
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