If I had closed my eyes, LA Opera’s “Aida” would still have been spectacular. The voices, the choruses, the music — these needed no visual accompaniment to overwhelm me. Everything beyond the glorious sound was a bonus, though that’s not to say that they were dispensable. Indeed, the dancers, the costumes, the lighting design, the graffiti-inspired hieroglyphics from RETNA were a feast for the eyes.
But the phenomenal vocal talent ruled the show. Tenor Russell Thomas (Radames), Melody Moore (Amneris), Morris Robinson (Ramfis), Peixin Chen (King) and George Gagnidze (Amonasro) all earned enthusiastic appreciation from the audience.
And above them all, like a radiant sun, Latonia Moore shone as Aida. What a powerful, absolutely gorgeous voice! Making her mainstage debut, Moore swept the audience away to a place of transcendent beauty. As the final notes of an aria dissipated, someone in the crowd could barely restrain shouting “brava” before everyone burst into applause.
Though it got its record-breaking premiere in Cairo (1871) and Milan (1872), Verdi’s “Aida” is a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance that transcends time and place. As Music Director James Conlon pointed out in his program note, “the story could have taken place anywhere and nowhere. Once upon a time. Never Never Land.” And the multicultural casting typical of LA Opera perfectly accentuates that feeling of oneness with the universe.
Gorgeous, captivating and invigorating, LA Opera’s “Aida” will transport you from anywhere to nowhere — and what a sublime place that is to be, even for just a few hours.
—Julie Riggott, Culture Spot LA
Thursday, June 9, 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 12, 2 pm
Photo: Latonia Moore as Aida and Russell Thomas as Radames in LA Opera’s 2022 production of “Aida” / Credit: Cory Weaver/ LA Opera