With a slight taste of Verdi, spectacular stage design, beautiful costumes recalling ancient Egypt, and the legendary collaboration of Tim Rice and Elton John, Aida the Musical has captured audiences from a wide spectrum of sensibilities. The music is modern and eclectic with West African rhythms mixed gracefully with Elton-pop, reggae, Motown, Gospel, and even some Middle-Eastern and Indian over-tones. Aida has pleased the critics and has maintained popular appeal over the years. Aida the Musical received a supreme distinction by winning the Tony for Best Musical Score, in addition to Best Actress in a Musical, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design. Other accolades include the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Heather Headley) and the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.
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Aida is a rock-musical in two acts adapted from Guiseppe Verdi's well-known Italian opera by the same name. Auguste Mariette wrote the libretto for the original. The inspiration for the stage-musical came from an abridged version of Verdi's opera, written by the soprano Leontyne Price, and intended as a children's storybook. First envisioned as an animated feature film, Aida ended up being adapted for the stage instead. Disney Theatrical produced Aida the musical, with Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Time Rice, Book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang.
Aida the Musical is a romance that hinges upon patriotic duty and prior promises - What happens when identities are hidden and enemies fall in love? Personal destiny seems to clash with the political one, and a single wrong step can bring the whole edifice down. Aida is about linked fates - a royal's deep commitment to her people, which she finds she must negotiate with her personal relationships in the enemy camp. At the heart of the matter lies the poignant truth, that, as humans, we may identify with any other human, even the one who belongs to the community of our sworn enemy. Friendship and love recognize no political borders or orders. And therein lies the dramatic conflict - swords clang, oaths are taken, mockery hurled - and destinies are shaped as a result.
The world premiere of Aida the musical, called Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida took place in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. The revised version of Aida opened in Chicago in 1999 followed by the Broadway production with the new title Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida which ran for four years - from 2000 to 2004, totaling 1852 performances and more than two dozen previews. Productions of Aida the Musical have toured Chicago, Atlanta, Broadway and foreign locations such as Melbourne, Israel, Brazil.
The opening song "Every Story Is a Love Story" is sung by the museum statue of Amneris, a female pharaoh. Other popular songs are: "The Past Is Another Land," "Fortune Favors the Brave," "Dance of the Robe" "Elaborate Lives" and "The gods Love Nubia" and the hilarious and colorful "My Strongest Suit" which is sung by Amneris and the Women of the Palace. The songs evoke the ancient cultures of Egypt and Nubia - the multilayered music recalls the rich history of these places.
There have been many foreign language recordings of Aida the Musical, including Dutch, German, Hungarian and Japanese.
Aida the Musical is a feast for the senses, with sights and sounds that transport the audience back into an ancient historical time and place. It is a thrilling story of love and war, presented with the full-throated, lyrical sweep that the timeless epic deserves. The choreography is varied and inspired, the music makes its own leaps in styles, and the visual shifts between historical and present time make for a very surprising and entertaining show. Aida is sure to be a hit for a long time to come.
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