I walked north on Wacker Drive from the Opera House and then headed east along the Chicago river back to the office after the dress rehearsal of Aida this afternoon. And I reflected on the many performances of Aida I have seen over the years.
I suppose that the one that must be the most important personally was on my 20th birthday, July 23 1961, in Verona. Carlo Bergonzi was the Radames and Gabriella Tucci the Aida. We also had Fiorenza Cossotto and Aldo Protti; and last, but not least, the young Nicolai Ghiaurov as Ramfis. Gianandrea Gavazzzeni conducted.
We then, we being me and two friends from Trinity College, Dublin, also opera fanatics, repaired to a splendid restaurant, the 12 Apostoli. It still flourishes. Imagine now three students dining there - how times have changed! But this was over 50 years ago - oh dear!
But then there was Jon Vickers, Galina Vishnevskaya and Giulietta Simionato at Covent Garden in 1964. Unforgettable also.......just more recent!
Notwithstanding those memories I had a fine time at Lyric this afternoon. Nicolas Joel's venerable production, first seen at Lyric in 1983 I believe, still serves the piece very effectively. And Radvanovsky and Giordani, as I predicted, were distinguished........I am sure that it will do well. This is your irresistible grand opera!
Tomorrow is more fun. Meanwhile please note than a good many of the links above are to Wikipedia which is blacked out for 24 hours. It makes you realise what a fabulous resource this is. I think that they will be back up and running tomorrow, Meanwhile think about it and support them as best you can. Please!