I have a bucket list that contains 101 goals in 1001 days. A so-called Day Zero Project. While chasing items on this list I have dipped myself into various experiences. Seeing Verdi’s opera Aida live has been one of the most elusive ones; surprisingly, as it is a classic. But suddenly there were a few performances at the English National Opera in London.
I convinced a colleague to come along. He took me up on the challenge and flew over to London carrying a tuxedo, which he duly put on for the occasion. After Aida and her misfortunate lover Radamés had been buried alive in a tomb forever, I reminded him that this was probably the most tragic opera every written, and that he should not make up his mind unless he saw another opera where people did not take quite as long a while to die as these two.
It turns out that the translation of this production was quite different: the famous line uttered by Aida’s lover upon his discover of her (“in this tomb!”) was missing. And instead of dying a slow long death in the tomb, Aida and her Radamés are apparently seeing the light, “a new day”.
Such an admirable attitude. The glass is half full even when one is buried alive forever in an Egyptian burial tomb. Quite the benchmark.
(ENO, London, United Kingdom; November 2017)