In the history of the Salzburg Festival, Giuseppe Verdi's popular opera Aida 1979 was only once performed, staged and conducted by Herbert von Karajan. For the return of Markus Hinterhäuser as the new artistic director, the Salzburg Festival has assembled an outstanding artistic team for this core piece, which makes this production the most desired and overbooked in the history of the festival.
The outstanding cast was led by Anna Netrebko in the title role, by Iranian-born New York artist Shirin Neshat and by the world's best Verdi conductor, Riccardo Muti.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung praised Netrebko's "perfection and flawlessness" in her role debut and Francesco Meli, one of the finest Verdi tenors of our time, scores as "vocally excellent" Radames (Der Standard). Ekaterina Semenchuk, the "Primadonna among the Mezzo Sopranos" (FAZ) in the role of Amneris, and the renowned baritone Luca Salsi, as Amonasro, are also fascinating.
Riccardo Muti "creates effects that were not thought possible" and the Vienna Philharmonic play "with amazing virtuosity" (New York Times).
Although Aida is one of the most vulgar pieces of opera literature, it also creates a mirror image of social hierarchies and power structures.
Shirin Neshat's direction captivates with the use of various visual media such as photography, video installation and film while Christian Schmidt's sculptural stage is also an aesthetic masterpiece that does entirely without the use of elephants and pyramids.