The famed tale of forbidden love, Aida, opening July 29 at Montgomery Theatre, is reinvented as a modern story with new twists, catchy tunes and the timeless bond shared between a Nubian princess and Egyptian commander. The Broadway show was a collaborative creation between composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, the man behind The Lion King, Evita and Beauty and the Beast.
Aida opens with Nubia suffering under Egypt’s imperial iron fist. Radames, the captain of the Egyptian army, takes notice of a particularly defiant Nubian slave without realizing her true identity as Aida, daughter of the Nubian king. He develops an affection for her that he cannot voice, so he secretly rewards her by making her a handmaiden to his fiancee, Amneris. However, as the love between Aida and Radames furthers, so do the stakes. The human points of the triangle are torn between their land and their lovers, and the impending wedding sneaks closer to torment them all.
The musical is loosely related to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, except that instead of Juliet being enslaved by spurts of suicidal feelings, Aida is enslaved—literally. Tests of personal and political loyalty, life-altering decisions and the tragic turn of Fortune’s wheel all stand in the way of their eternal love.
According to Kevin Hauge, CMT’s artistic director, “having a large cast means we get to investigate the kind of scope you would see in traditional opera. The cast is energetic and gives a youthful pace that cannot be achieved with older performers. Having young adults who have grown up in the theater come home from college and share the progression in their craft is always a joy.”
Runs July 29-Aug. 7
Montgomery Theater, San Jose