Jealousy, revenge, hopeless romance and a breathtaking wall of fire bring epic operas Aida and Nabucco to life in award-winning opera producer Ellen Kent’s new tour.
Pyrotechnic displays and lighting effects help bring Ellen’s love of large-scale productions to the local stage, complete with stunning scenery depicting the splendour and mystery of ancient Egypt and the beautiful hanging gardens of Babylon.
Ellen said, “I feel I can indulge myself in these operas. I try my best to give the audience the feeling of something epic.”
The celebrated Chisinau National Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra, with international guest soloists, kick off the autumn tour at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne on Friday, September 27 (Nabucco) and Saturday, September 28 (Aida).
Ellen’s production of Aida includes temple dancers, cages of exotic birds and parrots, ballet sequences, beautiful pillared sets with intricate tomb paintings, Bedouin dancers, a bathing scene and the ceremonial march with a pyrotechnic display where a wall of fire extends across the stage in a massive burst of flames.
The tale focuses on Ethiopian princess Aida, who is captured and brought into slavery in Egypt.Military commander Radames falls in love with Aida and struggles between his feeling for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s daughter Amneris also loves Radames and they are due to be wed, although Radames still yearns for Aida, who persuades him to flee into the desert with her.
But Radames is found out and surrenders, condemned to be entombed alive.
As he is sealed into the vault, he discovers Aida has hidden herself there so they can be together in death.
Ellen said, “Basically, it’s the big one.
“The biggest, most spectacular opera.
“In my opinion, it’s the best score Verdi ever wrote. It’s exotic and interesting and the music is simply spectacular.
“Even now, it’s my ambition to stage Aida on the banks of the Nile with a cast of thousands.”
Nabucco has a similar place near Ellen’s heart as it is the first opera she ever staged in 1993 in an open-air production to an audience of 7,000 at Rochester Castle with a 200-strong cast flown over from Romania in Ceausescu’s former plane borrowed from the country’s president.
Performances are at 7.30pm on both days .
Tickets cost from £21-£33, call 412000.