Now, before you get excited and think that I'm listening to the Verdi Opera, you should first think about whose writing this blog. I am actually listening to the Tim Rice and Elton John musical version.
I really hadn't heard of Aida or listened to it until about last year when my brother's high school decided to do it. Now even though I wasn't in the productions there anymore, old habits die hard. I got the CD and listened to it every once in a while. It wasn't until after I saw the production with my brother playing the male lead, Rademes, that I feel in love with the show and the music and now I listen to it constantly. It makes such a difference when you actually see how the songs you listen to on musical cd's are performed because then you know what's going on and what emotion is being felt.
Produced by Disney, this musical is a randition of the Verdi opera under the same name, just like how RENT is suppose to be a musical randition of La Boheme. It is the timeless love story of an Eqyptian captian, Rademes, who falls in love with a Nubian Princess, Aida yet he is already betrothed to the Egyptian Princess, Amneris. Already, you can tell that this love is doomed from the beginning.
The beginning of Act 1 has Amneris as the narrator with the song "Every Story is a Love Story". The it goes right into the first song of Rademes where he is introduced called, "Fortune Favors the Brave." In this song, you understand that Rademes has big dreams for himself and wishes to venture in search of them. Then we meet Aida who is captured and thrown into slavery by the egyptians with her song, "The Past is Another Land". This song is a wonderful expression of how she feels that nothing can be altered now and that she is longer a princess and is ashamed. Amneris has a song that definitly identifies her as a princess called "My Strongest Suit". This song also has a great dance number. As the Act goes on, the songs start to involve more characters as each one gets stuck in this web of love and betrayal. In the quintet "Not Me", each character can't believe how the others are acting and never imagined they would do so, for instance, Aida notices a change in Rademes and likes it as well as Amneris who isn't so sure she likes it, and Rademes not sure why he's doing what he's doing anymore. The duet that follows between Rademes and Aida is the song when they admit their love for one another and how much they want to be with each other. It's very touching actually. The one spiritual song in the show has to be one of my favorites as well as ending the first act. It's called "The Gods Love Nubia". This is the song all the Nubians sing in trying to find hope after their king is captured by the Egyptians. This song definitly can move you to tears. Actually, all the songs from here until the end will move you to tears because they are full of emotion and struggle. "A Step Too Far" is the love triangle song that opens the second Act. Each character sings seperately but soon start a canon that ends the song. Aida's next song, "Easy as Life" is definitly the song where she struggles with herself in leading her people or following her heart and being with Rademes. Very powerful peice. "Written in the Stars" is the song of farewell between Rademes and Aida as they decide that being together is not safe and they both have different paths they must follow. Ultimitely, in the end, Rademes and Aida's love is found out and they are sentenced to death. Very emotional. Yet in the end, they find each other in another lifetime.
Of course, this is a very abridged summery of the show, but it covers the most important songs. You can very much tell that the music in this show was written by Elton John because it has that feel. If you've ever listened to Elton John music, you would know what I mean. There's alot of piano ballads as well as great pop upbeats music. Yet Elton made sure it had an Egyptian sound to it as well since it is set in Egypt. So there are some songs where that is evident. Also, the lyric are right to the point yet very expressive which Tim Rice does very well.
This is a great show and if you've never listened to it or seen it, I highly recommend both!