The personal drama of the protagonists full of acute conflicts is unfolding against a background of monumental crowd scenes, triumphant marches and anthems. The obscurantism of the churchmen was embodied in the images of cruel priests, opposed by inner beauty and moral principles of Aida and Radamès: their love came through all the ordeals, even in the face of death. The opera sounds like a hymn to noble feelings.
In 1868, on the occasion of inauguration of the Suez Canal, the Egyptian government commissioned Giuseppe Verdi to write an opera based on a plot from the history of Egypt. It was planned to premiere the opera during the inauguration of the opera house in Cairo, but the composer refused. However, in 1870, he agreed and got acquainted with the scenario by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who used a legend about the struggle of ancient pharaohs against (Nubia) Ethiopia written on papyrus and decrypted by him. Verdi actively participated in the creation of the story, studying thoroughly the history and art of ancient Egypt.
“Aida” was first performed on 24 December 1871 in Cairo, and in Milan the following year. Both performances were a triumphal success.